17 Sep 2012

Maori Council makes power play for wardens control

7:14 pm on 17 September 2012

The Maori Council is looking to take control of Maori wardens from a government department, Te Puni Kokiri.

The council says it has the legislated authority to control and supervise Maori wardens through district Maori councils under the Maori Community Development Act.

The role of Maori wardens has expanded from curbing unruly behaviour and diffusing tensions, to security at events and in public places, street patrols, walk-throughs at licensed premises, and hospital visits as well as court attendance and support.

The wardens were discussed at a hui on the weekend and a new deputy chair for Maori wardens, Des Ratima, was also elected to the Maori Council.

He says Maori from around the country unanimously decided at the hui for the council to re-establish its position as the legislated body to look after wardens throughout the country.

Mr Ratima says Te Puni Kokiri was given the responsibility of looking after Maori wardens because there was a lack of leadership.

But he says that leadership is now back on top and it's now time for the the baton to be passed back to the Maori Council.

The council has also set up a committee to administer Maori wardens, which will start planning its activities during the next two weeks.