19 Nov 2013

Maori Council annoys Queensland Maori wardens

6:36 am on 19 November 2013

The President of the Queensland Maori Wardens says he is annoyed by Maori Council comments that they should not be using the name "Maori wardens" in Australia.

Maori Council deputy chair Des Ratima says, technically speaking, across the Tasman, they shouldn't call themselves "Maori wardens".

He says it was the defunct Maori Wardens Association which gave the Queensland wardens permission to use that title, and it was not endorsed by the Maori Council.

Queensland Maori Wardens president Rawiri Toko says Mr Ratima's comments were annoying given they had spent three years bedding themselves into the local community and establishing a great relationship with the state police service.

Mr Toko says he can't understand why the Maori Council has an issue with it after, given they did the ground work and went through the right channels to get established, including gaining support from New Zealand Police iwi liaison officers.

Mr Toko asked what the group should be called, and said the name "multi-cultural" wardens would just water down their identity.

The Maori Council is calling for trans-Tasman talks to see if wardens in both countries can be united under the same legislation, which would technically allow them to use the title "Maori Wardens" in Australia.