Police puts Te Reo on the road

Police puts Te Reo on the road

Photos by Senior Sergeant Ivan Tarlton, Counties Manukau Police

There’s a head-turning new waka on the streets of South Auckland – a police car sporting a ‘Pirihimana’ design to demonstrate New Zealand Police’s support for Māori Language Week.

The car – a fully equipped and operational police car – has been given a unique livery featuring a koru design and the word ‘Pirihimana’ in place of the English equivalent ‘Police’.

It was launched at Papakura Marae, in Counties Manukau District, by Police Commissioner Mike Bush.

"We wanted to do something visible to support Māori Language Week and to highlight our commitment to recruiting more Māori in Tāmaki Makaurau and across Aotearoa,” says Commissioner Bush.

“We’re passionate about reflecting the communities we serve and working with Iwi and Māori to achieve better outcomes for Māori.

“We welcome applications from people who are able to speak Te Reo, and all people who care enough to be a cop and want to make a difference in their community.”

Far from being a one-week wonder, the car will stay on to become a fixture in the Counties Manukau vehicle fleet.

During this week radio station Mai FM is running a ‘Back-seat cop’ promotion in conjunction with New Zealand Police, with presenters out and about with Māori-speaking police officers.

Assistant Commissioner Wally Haumaha, Deputy Chief Executive Māori, Pacific Island and Ethnic Services says the aim is to encourage the use of the Māori within New Zealand Police, and externally.

“The more we can do to effectively communicate the better, and there are a number of instances where having an officer able to speak Te Reo has really been advantageous in resolving situations.”

Currently 12.2 percent of the constabulary workforce identifies as Māori. The organisation’s aim is to boost that to 15.2 percent by 2020 to reflect the projected Māori population.

The koru design was also used in relation to The Turning of the Tide, Police’s iwi-led harm prevention strategy.

kia oraMāori Language Week is organised by the Māori Language Commission. This year’s theme is ‘Kia ora Te Reo Māori’, which literally translates to “Let the Māori Language live”.

Useful policing phrases

As part of the Mai FM input, Māori-speaking officers are translating a number of policing phrases into Te Reo. Here are a few:

  • Safer communities together - Kia tūpato. Me tiaki tātou i a tātou (lit: Be safe. Look after each other)
  • Buckle up, buttercup - Kia maumahara ki te whakamau i tō whītiki (lit: Remember to wear your seat belt.)
  • Police have better work stories - He pai kē atu tāku mahi i tāu (lit: My job is cooler than yours.)
  • Have you seen this person? - Kua kite rānei koe i tēnei tangata?
  • Who ate all the doughnuts? - Ko wai te kiore pukurua i kai ngā parāoa huka? (lit: Who’s the guts who ate all the doughnuts?)

And, of course…

  • Always blow on the pie - Pūhia te mīti-pai i ngā wā katoa.