Police and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu have formalised a commitment to work collaboratively to build stronger outcomes for Māori communities with the signing of an official partnership agreement on Friday.
Police Commissioner Andrew Coster says the partnership is an important milestone in the Police effort to deliver on the organisation’s objectives of Te Huringa o Te Tai strategy, and towards realising aspirations of Māori through strong partnerships with iwi.
“It demonstrates the strength of the relationship between Police and Māori, particularly in Ōtākou and is a step towards a new model of practical partnership,” Commissioner Coster said.
“I am proud to lead a Police service that is committed to partnering with iwi and ensuring our work reflects the Treaty principles of partnership, participation and protection.
“This step forward together with Ngāi Tahu is a visible, and tangible example of this investment, and I am positive this is a building block towards achieving aspirations of Māori in the Ōtākou region.
“We know that if we are to achieve our vision of being the safest country then we must be successful with and for Māori.”
Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Chief Executive Officer, Arihia Bennett says Ngāi Tahu and the Police already shared an important relationship, and the partnering agreement built on that in a proactive and practical way.
“We welcome this partnership as a formalisation of our shared values. As a result, Ngāi Tahu will be engaging closely with Police to provide solutions to infrastructure needs, in order for police stations to be more community facing and to connect more deeply and in more meaningful ways with all communities,” she said.
“Ngāi Tahu Property is the ideal partner to engage with Police on their objectives to improve outcomes for mana whenua as part of Te Huringa o Te Tai strategy.”
Commissioner Coster said work was underway to look at redeveloping the Dunedin Central Police Station into a policing hub, to ensure the space better serves the community.
“Police is looking to redefine the function of our stations, to ensure they build reassurance and trust and confidence within communities, and to make sure they provide an accessible way for all our communities to interact with Police.”
“We want our stations to be places of manaakitanga, providing services to the community and enabling public safety – a hub that welcomes the community in, and a building that is tailored to the unique characteristics of the community it serves,” he said.