New Māori Wardens base in Naenae
The Māori Wardens gathered with the Police today to bless the new Te Awakairangi Māori Wardens office based at the Naenae Police Station, which is a result of a working partnership between the Wellington District Māori Wardens and the Wellington District Police. The Wardens have not had a permanent presence in Naenae since the closure of their Naenae office in 2018. They are making a comeback in an era of population growth and the promise of a new Swimming Pool on the horizon.
In November last year, it was reported that crime was escalating in Naenae, Wainuiomata, Titahi Bay and Wellington City. Wellington District Commander (Māori Wardens) Gabriel Tupou said, "We heard the call from our people and this is our response. The Māori Wardens are working with our community partners and the Police to strategically operate from within these communities." Warden groups are working from Porirua Police Hub, Te Wāhi Āwhina in Te Aro Wellington, Wainuiomata Community Hub and now at the Naenae Police Station.
Wardens have a unique way of de-escalating tense situations through their presence of manaaki and empathy. Te Awakairangi Māori Wardens Branch Chief Te Ari Taylor said, "We are working side-by-side with NZ Police to bring a safety presence to Naenae and surrounding communities throughout Te Awakairangi (the Hutt Valley)." Hutt Valley Police Area Commander Inspector Dion Bennet and Iwi Liaison Officer Ash Hauwaho have been very supportive of this kaupapa. The Wardens will be transitioning into their Naenae base over the next two weeks.