18 Jul 2014

Police actions on marae 'unacceptable'

12:53 pm on 18 July 2014

Police need to change their processes when dealing with children and Maori the Labour Party says.

Kelvin Davis.

Kelvin Davis. Photo: LABOUR PARTY

Labour associate police spokesperson Kelvin Davis said it is unacceptable that officers walked into a marae's wharenui in the early hours of the morning to search and photograph a group of children in their pyjamas.

The officers were investigating an assault when they entered the Whakaahurangi marae in Stratford at 2.30am last Saturday.

Mr Davis, said people have a right to be treated with dignity, especially children.

He said a common sense approach would have been to talk to the elders and wait until the children were awake.

"Certainly to wake them up, rouse them up, photograph them, it's pretty hard line and hard nose, and I don't think it was necessary."

Police have said they will meet marae members to discuss the matter, and are not ruling out an apology.

Mr Davis said iwi across the country will be interested in the outcome of that meeting and said the relationship between Maori and police will have been set back by this incident.