Police Commissioner to apologise to community of Ruatoki

By Te Ao Māori News

A long awaited apology for the impact of the Operation 8 raids on the community of Ruatoki from police will take place at Te Rewarewa Marae today.

The New Zealand Police Commissioner, Mike Bush has arrived at the marae in Ruatoki with a contingent of officers to apologise to the community in a meeting closed off to media.

Last month the Police Commissioner met with several Tūhoe whānau to deliver a personal apology for the mistakes police made during Operation 8.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) report deemed the raid to be unreasonable and that police have to review their policy around raids when children are present. 

One of the families affected by the raids told Te Kāea the apology was too little too late and the distrust they held towards the Police would remain.

The home of Rameka Raymond Teepa who passed away last year was raided by Police in 2007 while he had at least 10 children in his care. At the time the Police were searching for his son Maraki.

Te Waiarani Harawira, Rameka’s older sister told Te Kāea his dissent towards the Police for what they did was strong.

“He couldn’t let it go, not because of what they did to him or his son Maraki, but he could not forgive the trauma the Police caused his completely innocent grandchildren at the time.”  

In May last year the Independent Police Conduct Authority released a report after an investigation into the Operation 8 Raids and Authority Chair Judge Sir David Carruthers found that the

-Road blocks established in Ruātoki and Taneatua were unlawful, unjustified and unreasonable

-While Police were warranted in taking steps to address possible risk to public safety there was no justification for believing there was a general threat to the people of Ruātoki

-Police had no legal basis for stopping and searching vehicles or photographing drivers or passengers

-The road block at Ruatoki and the presence of armed Police officers was intimidating and there was no assessment of the likely impact of this activity on the local community.

Police have confirmed that a settlement has now been reached with Tūhoe iwi in relation to Operation 8. The terms of the settlement are confidential between the parties.