Youth paint Tainui history on Hamilton Police Station

By Te Ao Māori News

The traditions of Waikato have been painted onto the Hamilton Police Station by the youth of Tainui.

The police hope the mural will help create a safe and comfortable environment within the Waikato-Tainui region.

Youth, police station, graffiti. These are words you would hear that have negative impacts on communities. Te Kāhui Rangatahi want to change that relationship with the police.

Kirimaku Kihi from Te Kāhui Rangatahi says, “It's about voicing our concerns, having a strong relationship with the police will enhance the betterment of the environment.”

“I didn't think that I would've woke up to come to the police station and do some tagging on their walls, however, it's for a good cause,” says Mokena Hawkins

The Waikato Police have identified that art is a medium that can open up a discussion, and can create a safe and comfortable environment, they saw that youth responded better to this form of communication.

Inspector Greg Nicholls says, “as a leadership team within the district, the contemporary spin on whakapapa and tikanga, that message was being portrayed by youth”

Kirimaku Kihi describes the meaning behind the mural saying, “these are the primary mountains of the Waikato-Tainui region, the Waikato River, and Tūheitia the taniwha. These are symbols of being guardians of the region.”

The police formed a relationship with Waikeria Prison where prisoners painted pieces that made you think about the choices you are making, from the entry to prison to the time you are free.

The objective this time was to enhance the knowledge about the Waikato region.

“Our staff may not have exposure to the cultural aspect that many of us do. It's also really interesting for the youth who are doing the art work,” says Inspector Greg Nicholls.

The room being decorated is that of the Iwi liaison manager, the next phase is to explore ideas on how to include the Kingitanga movement into the building.