Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll has taken part in a multicultural ceremony at the Queensland Police Service (QPS) Academy in Oxley.
The event saw a Māori ceremonial cloak, or Korowai, bestowed upon a new QPS custodian, amidst traditional ceremonies uniting police with local Māori and First Nations community representatives.
The ceremony seamlessly merged traditions from both First Nations and Māori culture, including an acknowledgement of Country, traditional First Nations dances, a Māori pōwhiri welcoming ceremony, wero challenge ceremony and haka.
Two feathered cloaks were first presented to the QPS in 2012, with Māori officer Senior Constable Brenda Lee as their kaitiaki, or custodian.
The cloaks were given to Senior Constable Lee on behalf of the QPS to acknowledge the understanding and partnership between the Queensland Māori community and the QPS.
Amidst the ceremony, the cloak was draped around the shoulders of Commissioner Carroll, who spoke of her honour in presiding over the korowai custodianship ceremony.
“I am humbled and honoured to wear this Korowai, named Awhimai, as a symbol of the opportunity police have to unite members of the community from all cultures,” Commissioner Carroll said.
“While I am not from a Māori background myself, the fact that Queensland’s Māori community entrusts this cloak to the QPS to be used in celebration and commemoration of their culture is a touching symbol of unity and friendship.
“I am proud to stand as the custodian of Awhimai, and ensure that she and her sister cloak, Kahurangi, are respected and well cared for.”
One of the Korowai (Kahurangi) will be placed into the care of Malachi Cameron, an upcoming Māori leader within Brisbane. The other Korowai (Awhimai), as her twin, represents the other half of the reciprocal relationship and will now be stored in glass cabinets in the foyer of QPS Headquarters in Brisbane, and will be available for all QPS officers, their families and for special requests from the Māori community.