A desire to make a difference has been the driving force behind a 28-year career in Police for Senior Sergeant Greg Brown.
Greg was farewelled in Hastings recently after spending most of his career in Hawke’s Bay.
While his service included a range of frontline policing roles, Greg’s work in the past few years developing the Whāngaia Ngā Pā Harakeke approach to family harm in Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay will be his lasting legacy.
Inspector Natasha Allan, Manager Family Harm – Whāngaia Ngā Pā Harakeke, says from the start Greg embraced the opportunity to be creative and innovative, carving out a new way of operating for the wider Whāngaia team.
“Greg made a fantastic effort at starting a wave of change in Tairāwhiti and we have watched the ripples move out to other areas,” says Natasha.
According to Greg, working on Whāngaia changed his view on policing in family harm. “When you work with a Whāngaia lens, you need to really understand what working from a whānau voice is, rather than our voice.
“Working with whānau, not doing to whānau. It has taught me to see the strengths in whānau, even in our whānau with some of the greatest challenges in their lives.
“Whāngaia is a licence to be different. How you do it is up to you, your community and your partners. Police is only ever a part of this.”
At Greg’s poroporoaki, Inspector Chris Wallace thanked him for his contribution – “28 faithful years of public service to your community is a fantastic achievement and one you should be very proud of,” he said.
“Greg was always challenging us about what more can be offered in terms of an holistic approach to wellbeing for victims and whānau."
True prevention has victims at its heart, and that mantra always remained central in Greg’s thinking, says Chris.
“It’s Greg’s personal traits of imagination, future-orientated thinking and creativity which we in the area and district leadership teams will miss.”
In addition to Whāngaia, Greg worked in Road Policing and set up the first intel unit in Hawke’s Bay. He was the district lead for both Operation Bold, which freed up frontline time by smartening up processes, and for embedding the Police High Performance Framework across Eastern, working one-on-one with staff and teams to explore how tthey can be the best they can be in their roles.
“His service to Police, community and those whānau experiencing family harm has gone above and beyond what anyone could have hoped," says Natasha.
What will be his most cherished memories?
“The work with the Whāngaia team and in Road Policing has been at the cutting edge of our work with families," says Greg. "We’ve had the opportunity and freedom to make a difference, which is why I joined Police.
“And I loved my time in Timor. While there I got to know Madre Guilhermina, a Catholic nun who was doing truly amazing work. She provided food, shelter and well-being initiatives for 15,000 people living in an area not much bigger than a small-sized school.
“She was only four feet tall but she had an amazing presence. I cherish the time with her.”
Greg is moving to a new role as a business coach at the Ministry for Social Development – another opportunity to make a difference.
"I’ll be involved in implementing change through ‘systems thinking’ to understand how change should occur – it’s based on the Vanguard System which is what we used to develop the Whāngaia approach in Tairāwhiti."
One of Greg’s wise reflections recalled by Natasha: “Whānau don’t care what or who you are, they care that you care. They need you to be real, reliable and pono (true and trustworthy).
"If you start there you will inevitably be successful. Even if you don’t achieve success every time, you will have a lasting impact and create the opportunity for next time.”