18 Jul 2013

Maori wardens in Queensland under fire

8:19 am on 18 July 2013

The Maori Wardens branch in Queensland is being criticised by different sectors in the community including Maori who say they are racist and arrogant.

The wardens are based in Logan near the Gold Coast, a multicultural area and home to hundreds of Maori families.

While they have received many positive comments, the wardens say there is a lot of misunderstanding about why they exist.

Queensland Maori Wardens president Rawiri Toko of Ngai Tuhoe says their primary job is to act as security personnel at events such as Waitangi Day celebrations, but also want to inspire other ethnic communities to start up their own wardens group.

Mr Toko says they work alongside the Queensland Police Service and have built up a great relationship with them.

He says Queensland police value what they do to support safer communities, provide crowd and traffic control and first aid at Maori events.

Mr Toko has told his voluntary staff not to reply to any of the negative comments but to continue their work with dignity. He says the next step is to form a national council because other branches are starting up in towns and cities where there are significant Maori communities.