Passing of our Kaumatua

Passing of our Kaumatua

Commissioner Mike Bush

Ngā Mihi. This week I was saddened to hear of the passing of Te Akapikirangi Arthur, the RNZPC Kaumatau affectionately known as Uncle Aka.

Uncle Aka passed away on Tuesday 16 May, at the age of 83 years after a short illness. He was surrounded by his family. 

A large number of our sworn staff will remember Uncle Aka and his support during their time at RNZPC. He attended all the pöwhiri to welcome new recruits on behalf of local Iwi Ngati Toa Rangatira and their subsequent graduations. 

Uncle Aka and his wife Janet have dedicated themselves to the RNZPC for over many years and we are grateful for their unwavering support.

His Tangi was today (Friday) at Takapuwahia Marae and a large number of Police have visited to pay their respects. 

Rewa re-trial application

This week I announced that the Solicitor-General has agreed to make an application to the High Court, on behalf of Police, to re-try Malcom Rewa for the murder of Susan Burdett. This follows a request by Police to review the decision to stay the prosecution of Rewa, imposed in 1998 following his second trial. 

This is a complex legal situation which is without precedent. We are following the advice of Crown Law regarding the steps we need to take. The next step will be to seek leave of the High Court to file a fresh indictment. 

A team of senior and experienced homicide detectives under the oversight of Detective Superintendent Dave Lynch have commenced preparation work on the file.

Long sentences – a result of great investigation work

Every day Police around the country do great work and make a large number of arrests. This week I’m aware of two particular cases where Police’s outstanding work on two serious crimes has resulted in offenders being held to account for their actions.

In Counties Manukau, a 60-year-old man has been sentenced to 16 years imprisonment for sexual offences against his two stepdaughters. This offending went on for nearly eight years. The sentence demonstrates the seriousness of the offending and the robustness of the investigation. Most importantly, it brings some closure for the victims. 

This week in the Auckland High Court, Michael Waipouri was sentenced to 19 years imprisonment for the kidnap and murder of Auckland Man Lance Murphy. This is a significant sentence and again demonstrates the seriousness of the offending and the robustness of the investigation. This was a very high profile case and Mr Murphy’s family as well as the public should take heart from this sentence. 

Further south in Bay of Plenty, Police have made an arrest in their investigation into the murder of 40-year-old Don Turei. Mr Turei died on 26 November after a van deliberately ran him down while he was riding his motorcycle in Waihou Bay. A 33-year-old man has been charged with being an accessory after the fact. He is remanded in custody and will appear in Gisborne District Court on 17 May 2017.

Well done to everyone involved in these investigations. 

Media centre’s 1st birthday

I joined the team in the Wellington based Police Media Centre this week to help them mark their first anniversary of operations. The centralised media team, with a smaller hub in Auckland, works seven days a week from 6am-11pm. It was established last year in response to a significant rise in requests for information from the media, as well as feedback from operational staff on the impact this was having. 

During its first year the media centre has dealt with around 45,000 calls, 50,000 emails and issued over 4000 media releases. Police highly values its relationship with the media, and it is important that we are responsive to the huge changes in the media industry over the last decade.  The Police Media Centre does not alter the long standing policy of police staff being authorised to talk to media on their area of responsibility.

As always, stay safe.

 


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