2 Jul 2012

Police not giving up on reconnecting with Tuhoe

6:28 am on 2 July 2012

New Zealand's highest-ranking Maori police officer says the police won't give up trying to reconnect with the eastern Bay of Plenty iwi of Tuhoe.

The relationship's been under severe strain since the 2007 national police raids, which were carried out in areas including the Tuhoe community of Ruatoki, Wellington and Auckland.

In May, Police Commissioner Peter Marshall made no apology for the investigation, arrests and the prosecution of those involved.

But he did regret the effect that the execution of warrants had on Ruatoki residents, and apologised to them.

In response, the chair of a Tuhoe authority Patrick McGarvey said the refusal by police to apologise for the investigation put attempts to improve relations at risk.

Police media relations wouldn't allow Te Manu Korihi to talk to National Manager of Maori, Pacific and Ethnic Services, Superintendent Wallace Haumaha about any apology - saying the matter's being handled by the Police Commissioner.

However, Superintendent Haumaha says he's working towards regaining the tribe's trust.

He says police in Whakatane are already reconnecting with the iwi.

Superintendent Haumaha says the police need the support of Maori leaders, whether in Tuhoe or in Ngapuhi.

He says it's important that tangata whenua are satisfied with police, and he says they won't give up trying no matter how long it takes.