Māori officer praised by whānau


The mother of a 27-year-old man, who was arrested in a stand-off with police in Onepu, Kawerau, has come forward pleading that tikanga Māori should be used by police when it comes to dealing with Māori.

A peaceful ending to a long ordeal.

Te Araroa Wetini, (Ngāti Awa) the mother of the accused told Te Kaea, “We are very happy. The families supporting us mostly came from Onepu, Te Teko, Kawerau and Whakatāne. It's been amazing the support. The end result was good.  He has returned to the world and his mind is clear, but what he did yesterday was not good.”

The family is happy with the end result, but they are adamant the incident ran smoothly because of the presence of a Māori liaison officer to help them.

“We're happy with how the police worked together. Police liaison officer Warwick Morehu helped us a lot. We're very happy now.” says Te Araroa, the mother of the accused.

Taupō Area Commander Inspector Warwick Morehu, played a huge part in communicating with the family but says that he is not the hero here, “Good Communication with the family was key and certainly some higher level of communication with our iwi leaders from Mātaatua across Te Arawa as well, to keep our people in the picture and give them some oversight and comfort and to let them know we were trying to do the right thing by everybody here."

Four charges have been laid against the 27-year-old.  This includes the use of a firearm against a law enforcement officer.  Four officers were shot during this ordeal with two remaining in hospital. 

Police Commissioner Mike Bush, says, “I'm really thankful they were wearing the right equipment cause this could of turned out differently but due to their professionalism and training I don't think it could of turned out any better than it did.”

A 27-year-old appeared in the Whakatāne District Court this afternoon regarding this incident. 

Police cannot rule out the possibility that further charges will be laid in due course.