Lower Hutt Police is re-establishing a Wainuiomata-based response team led by a well-known local who was recently appointed to a newly created role for the area.
The Wainuiomata community will know Sergeant Patrick (Pat) Tangipo (pictured) as a youth sports coach, a dad on the school run and a player on the local club’s rugby pitch.
But he has recently acquired a new role.
After almost a decade, the Wainuiomata Station is being brought back to life, and Pat has been appointed as the new Wainuiomata Community Sergeant.
Pat became a Police officer nine years ago and has predominately worked in the public safety team in Hutt Valley.
He has called Wainuiomata home for the past 17 years, raising three children there with his wife, Tia.
“I love Wainui. We are a great community with a raft of talent,” he says.
“I’ve always wanted to come back, making Wainui a safer place to live for the community and my own children is my mantra.
“The opportunity to do that is very exciting.”
In his new role, Pat will be responsible for community relationships and overseeing community policing in Wainuiomata.
“I will hold people accountable, but my preferred style of policing is to work with whānau in the community and set them up with the tools to be safe and feel safe.”
“I believe this can only be done by being in the community with whānau.”
I am very familiar with this community, says Pat.
“I see the challenges Wainui faces and I am committed to overseeing and ensuring it is safe.
“However, this cannot be done alone and I am fortunate to be working alongside our partners and other community organisations such as the Community Patrol, Maori Wardens, Kokiri Marae and Wainuiomata Marae.”
Hailing from Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngā Rauru Iwi, Pat has always been determined to reverse statistics.
“Maori are over-represented as offenders and as victims. This position is a privilege and an opportunity to change the script on that.”
Hutt Valley Area Commander Inspector Dion Bennett says a plan to re-establish a permanent presence in Wainuiomata has been in the works for the past 14 months.
“Pat is the right person to do that,” says Inspector Bennett.
“He understands the community and the current local issues.
“Wainuiomata is part of the Hutt area and while Police continue to prioritise responding to calls over the hill, our support for the community can now include a group of location-dedicated staff who can follow up on events or calls that require a little more community-care.”
Pat will be joined by two community constables and two youth aid officers, and together they will form a permanent Police presence in Wainuiomata.
“The appointments we’ve made and the style of policing we’re currently focusing on places community engagement and youth as priority focus.
“We really want to invest in Wainuiomata and be a part of a thriving community.”