Sunday, April 14, 2024

Police deliver for locked down communities

Northland Police and iwi have been delivering food packages in the Northland District as part of their community duties during COVID-19 restrictions. 

“We started working with Far North Iwi in Te Hiku on the concept of Nga Pou Korero, which is a combined Iwi and Police-led education and help campaign, and we’ve expanded the concept into a district reassurance support initiative,” said Area Commander Far North, Inspector Riki Whiu.

“This post-Covid-19 reassurance campaign is mainly focussed on vulnerable whanau living in isolated areas within Te Aupouri, Ngati Kuri, Ngati Kahu, Ngai Takoto, Te Rarawa, Ngapuhi, Ngati Hine, Ngati Whatua, Te Roroa, Ngati Wai and many others within our surrounding areas in Te Tai Tokerau.

“We’ve not only delivered food boxes in the areas collaborating with northern Iwi, but we are at ‘checkpoints’, making sure people are okay, that they have the information they need to cope during this lockdown.

Senior Constable Llew Smart in Maungaturoto has been handing out food boxes in his area along with messages of support and help with information where required.

“It’s not the usual concept of a police checkpoint, where we ask people what they are doing and where they are going – it’s more than that. There is korero around getting tested and vaccinations and presence at local stores or numbers allowed at gathering areas,” he says.

Police are also taking the opportunity to share information about family harm and other abuse prevention messages, with lockdowns placing additional stress on individuals and families.

“In the past few weeks the Nga Pou Korero – Community Support Reassurance Initiative has been operating roving teams and had contact with people and communities right across the more rural areas of our district. Some of the areas targeted are extremely rural and isolated requiring the use of 4wd vehicles,” says Inspector Whiu.

Senior Sergeant Sarah Hewitt-Wihongi, who manages teams working on the front line, says the benefit and mana that whakapapa brings for Kaimahi to make the connections in smaller isolated communities was invaluable.

Police staff with the Rapid Relief team – Nick Bigelow and Darren Boon from the Rapid Relief Team were stacking up boxes at the Whangārei Police Family Harm base. Nick Bigelow (left) and Darren Boon of the Rapid Relief Team dropping off Rapid Relief Tteam Food Boxes to the Family harm team of Constable Jo McCammon, Sergeant Jim Adamson and Jamie Phillips.

“This is a great opportunity to get in and connect with our people, check their welfare and build and strengthen partnerships,” she says.

Inspector Whiu continues, “We’ll continue with the intention of Nga Pou Korero and our Iwi that all well-being for our people is the priority, and since our people are some of the most vulnerable people in Aotearoa, we have to continue to bring humanity and manaakitanga to a crisis through our engagements and help and support them and ensure that they have the necessities required to survive during COVID restrictions and beyond.”

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