25 May 2012

Tuhoe reconsidering renewed talks with police

8:35 pm on 25 May 2012

Renewed talks between Tuhoe and police are in jeopardy following the jailing of two of the so-called Urewera Four.

On Thursday, Tame Iti and Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara were each jailed to two years and six months for possession of firearms and Molotov cocktails at military-style training camps in Te Urewera National Park in 2007.

A meeting to kick-start relations between police and the tribe following the raids in the Ruatoki Valley took place in Rotorua on 9 May this year.

At the time, Police Commissioner Peter Marshall said it would be one of a number of meetings.

But the decision to jail Iti and Kemara has stunned and shocked Tuhoe leaders.

Patrick McGarvey, chair of a Tuhoe authority which covers Ruatoki, says the refusal by police to apologise for the investigation and arrests puts attempts to improve relations at risk.

Mr McGarvey says the jail terms and police statement that they make no apology for the investigation makes it challenging to strive for better links.

An earlier decision that Tuhoe would continue talks with police is being reviewed, he says.