The new Police Commissioner, Mike Bush fronted up to the Tūhoe community with an apology for the Operation 8 raids in 2007.
Over 300 people gathered to hear the apology but many people at Rewarewa Marae in Ruātoki still want an apology from Howard Broad who was the Police Commissioner at the time of the raids.
It's taken seven years, but today saw history in the making.
“This day is for Tūhoe, for the commissioner to come before Tūhoe to say what he needs to say,” says Te Ururoa Flavell of the Māori Party.
The fog has finally lifted at Te Rewarewa Marae, with it the heavy burden that Tūhoe have carried since the raids in 2007.
Flanked by tribal leaders from the wider Bay of Plenty and East Coast areas, the Police Commissioner Mike Bush walked onto the marae to the roar of haka by both young and old.
Police Commissioner, Mike Bush says,“I acknowledge Tūhoe tāngata for welcoming us here today. Of course there was some anger and that was particularly important that myself and staff listened too, heard and felt the anger and the emotion.”
Media were banned from the proceedings which took place in the dining room of Te Rewarewa marae.
Today is the second time Commissioner Bush has come to Ruātoki. Two weeks ago he personally apologised to five of the seven families who were targeted in the raids.
Two families were not prepared to accept the apology, but the Police Commissioner says his door will always be open.
“If they get to a place where they are willing to talk to me and accept a personally apology I am very keen,” says Mike Bush.
According to Tamati Kruger,”We don't overcome anything if we are angered, hurt and frustrated.”
We understand that private discussions concerning compensation are taking place, but today marks the beginning of a new relationship between Police and Tūhoe.