Army veteran improving security outcomes for Māori

By Jessica Tyson

Army veteran and security consultant Chris Kumeroa says security against criminal activity is expected to rise post-Covid-19.

Kumeroa grew up in Whanganui. At 17 he joined the New Zealand Army and became one of the youngest soldiers to win selection into the SAS. Over the past 25 years, he has worked as a security consultant around the globe with many multinationals and top officials including, the British Foreign Office, the US State Department, the UN and the Saudi royal family.

Kumeroa now runs a company, Global Risk Consulting, which delivers local and international security consulting and technology development, working alongside iwi and the New Zealand government.

“There is going to be a long tail post Covid-19 in unemployment so deprived communities will be more at risk at being enticed to gangs and or drugs and with that comes a whole heap of criminality," he says.

“We’re conscious that we need to have visibility on that but poverty is something that our [Māori] people are born into, so with that comes a whole heap of risk.”

He says Covid-19 has put the whole world on pause, causing his company to pivot and look at a new horizon.

“I think Māori in general, the leadership, both within government and within iwi constructs, have applied healthy pressure to the state to say ‘What does this new horizon look like for Māoridom?’. We’re seeing things play out now in government and policy that has a direct impact on Māori communities and that is a wonderful thing.”

Risks for Māori

Kumeroa says he has built a new indigenous Māori civil defence vulnerability hazard system, which identifies national disaster risk for Māori communities.

“We can say with hand on heart these are the frequency of events but also these are the severity of impacts on Māori communities.”

His company is also building technology for security.

“We’ve got all of this offshore experience and SAS experience that helps shape our approach to security in general. So we’re trying to use that sort of knowledge to improve security outcomes for the nation and that takes a number of forms. We're using technology to help people understand better, to help people understand the threats and risks that are in our borders now and emerging threats.”

Kumeroa also worked as a media consultant throughout the recovery of the Christchurch mosque attacks and says the global connection between right-wing extremists is still prevalent.

“They use the dark web to make those international connections. There is the fear that there is this bubbling and emerging threat within our communities that we need to be conscious of and I’m sure the security services like the SIS and GCSB and the police have got their eyes over the top of that.”