29 Sep 2012

Council downplays police/wardens tension

10:20 pm on 29 September 2012

Maori Council executives say the relationship between the police and Maori wardens has matured and any unease between the organisations has disappeared.

A government report on the funding of Maori wardens has revealed some tension between police iwi liaison officers and the wardens - a clash between police culture and the volunteers' kaupapa.

The Maori Council says when central funding started in 2007, there were assumptions that there was an attempt to turn the wardens into the community face of the police.

But the council's deputy chair for Maori wardens, Des Ratima, says the volunteers and the police are now working together well.

He says as the years have unfolded and the relationship has developed, both groups have become dependent on each other for work, resources and training.

Mr Ratima says he would be surprised if there is any tension remaining.

The Maori Council has previously distributed funding to Maori wardens under the Maori Community Development Act, 1962, but the legislation is currently under review by the government.