Kaumatua speaks Māori, threatened with arrest

By Talisa Kupenga
  • Wellington

Parliament's Senior Māori Advisor is angry he was threatened with arrest when pulled over by Wellington police because he chose to respond to the officer's questions in te reo Māori. Kura Moeahu says he did nothing wrong and was only exercising his legal right to speak his national language.

This elder says he was treated unfairly by police for speaking Māori and he wants an apology.

“[The officer said] ‘Don't talk like that, I won't have that talk to me', so I continue to respond in Māori and then he said, 'you do that again I'm going to arrest you'."

Moeahu was pulled over on his way home last night near the Waterloo Takeaway shop.

“The policeman asked why I failed to stop when I saw his lights flash. I responded by saying that I did not want to stop along the yellow lines and it was not a safe place to stop. I was angry because I had done nothing wrong.”

Moeahu is a Kaiwhakarite at Parliament. His role does not have an English title. The police officer asked where Moeahau got his jacket having recognised the logo which is affiliated with the police. He said he should ask his boss at the station.

“I have a position on the Police Māori Advisory board in town. That's a bit funny.”

Moeahu received no tickets from the policeman but encourages children to speak in Māori no matter the circumstances. 

Inspector Hansen and Police Iwi Liaison Officers met this afternoon with Mr. Moeahu. Inspector Hansen will be speaking with his staff involved in the incident in the coming days, in order to gather more information around exactly what happened.