Iwi and police initiative in Kawerau wins award

By Jessica Tyson

An initiative to support the Kawerau community affected by a major methamphetamine operation run has won the Supreme Award at the 2018 New Zealand Police Evidence-based Problem-Oriented Policing Awards.

Kua hīkina te kohu, Raising the fog was run by officers from the National Organised Crime Group (NOCG) and Bay of Plenty District in partnership with Tūhoe and Tūwharetoa iwi.

It was established after the termination of Operation Notus, a large-scale operation involving Mongrel Mob drug-dealing in Kawerau.

Detective Superintendent Greg Williams says, “Criminal activity in the town was attacking the very fabric of the community.

“The National Organised Crime Group worked hard with the Bay of Plenty Police district and local iwi to ensure we could support the community, both before and after the operation.”

Police said following Kua hīkina te kohu there was reduced reported violence and offending and a significantly reduced gang presence in Kawerau, “resulting in the community feeling safe and renewed trust and confidence in Police.”  

Commissioner Mike Bush says it also demonstrated partnership, respect and trust.

“We want police to be trusted and respected, for people to have confidence in us, but we must trust others to get that trust.”

Kua hīkina te kohu was one of six prevention initiatives – from 15 original entries from around the country – which made it to the final in Wellington.

The winners in the other four award categories were:

• Excellence in Reducing Harm from Crime – Canterbury District
• Excellence in Achieving Collective Impact – Bay of Plenty District/NOCG
• Excellence in Reducing Repeat Victimisation – Waitematā District
• Excellence in Generation and Application of Evidence – Counties Manukau District