Topic: Tūhoe

Police organise trip for children affected by Tūhoe raids

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

A trip planned for children who were caught up in the 2007 Urewera raids has come under fire. 

An invitation by Police to children of Ruātoki to travel to Wellington has some from the communities of Ruātoki and Taneatua sceptical about the motive behind the invitation.

It's a scene that has been etched into the soul of those who were raided by police in Te Urewera.

Te Waiarani Harawira says, “When my younger brother and his son were raided, there were ten children in the home.”

Recently, Police extended an invitation to those children who were affected by the raids to visit Wellington, a move that has angered this elder.

“Yes, I am angry that police have not come and sat with the families to work out a plan,” says Ms Harawira

In July, Police Commissioner Mike Bush personally apologised to six families affected by the raids and made an official apology to the wider community in August. 

Police have since given $50,000 to the tribal board of Ruātoki, whose hapu-elected members voted that the money be returned. 

Te Waiarani Harawira says, “How can I have faith in them, despite the apology, how can I believe them?”

Police are trying to rebuild the trust with the community.  However for Mahina Harawira-Fox, she says that the memory of the raids is strong with in her.

“The majority of the roads were closed, the school buses of the kōhanga children were raided by ninjas. The hurt still remains,” says Ms Harawira-Fox.

Police are organising the trip with Te Uru Taumatua.  However, they say the invitation will have to go unanswered until the New Year.

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