Haumaha’s behaviour “inappropriate and unprofessional”

By Jessica Tyson

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has described the behaviour of Deputy Commissioner Wallace Haumaha as “inappropriate and unprofessional” in a report released today.

It comes after three complaints were laid to the authority concerning Haumaha's behaviour during incidents that took place from 2016 in the course of work on the Improving Māori Justice Outcomes Project.

During an incident between Haumaha and a team member in May 2016, the authority concluded that Haumaha asserted his authority “loudly, aggressively and argumentatively”.

“His behaviour, in entering into an argument in front of other staff and members of the team, and in asserting himself as he did (including by putting his leg on the chair immediately in front of Team member A, was inappropriate and unprofessional,” the report states.

One month later, another incident took place during a project team meeting where the authority said Haumaha’s behaviour was “inappropriate and unprofessional” for a senior executive.

“Haumaha’s response to Team member D was belittling and humiliating, and his general approach to the group was unnecessarily autocratic.”

The third complaint alleges that, in August 2018, DC Haumaha pressured members of his staff to provide information that would help him to defend the allegations made by the first two complainants.

“The authority has found that DC Haumaha acted improperly by approaching staff and others to provide information to support him to refute the allegations about his 2016 conduct, or solicited other staff to do so on his behalf.”

The authority said that Haumaha’s behaviour “was in many respects consistent with the common usage of the term ‘bullying’, it does not demonstrate the persistence implicit in the WorkSafe definition applicable to the workplace.”

Haumaha was appointed Deputy Chief Executive Māori in 2014 and has supported the Commissioner of Police on the development of crime prevention advice to reduce the over-representation of Māori in the criminal justice system.

He was also made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the New Zealand Police and Māori, Pacific and ethnic communities in 2017.

Sexual assault survivor Louise Nichols sparked an inquiry into Haumaha's appointment as Deputy Commissioner, saying she “knew his history” and did not want him to move further up the ranks.

Our reporter Talisa Kupenga will have more on this story tonight on Te Kāea.