New in Ngāruawāhia

New in Ngāruawāhia

Ngāruawāhia’s new police station arrived in the dark, but was officially opened this week in bright sunshine.

nga flag

Local staff
Constable Craig
Wiggins and Sarah
Gales raise the flag.

Just over a month ago Ngāruawāhia residents woke to find a new police station had appeared overnight, replacing their demolished 1950s-built station.

On Tuesday (18 December) a crowd gathered to help Police Minister Stuart Nash and Commissioner Mike Bush open the new Ngāruawāhia Community Policing Centre.

Among those present were Hauraki-Waikato MP and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta, Mayor of Waikato District Allan Sanson, and representatives of King Tūheitia.

Area Commander Waikato West Inspector Andrew Mortimore kicked off the opening ceremony with a warm welcome to the guests.

He has first-hand knowledge of working in the old station, which he says was poorly laid out and not up to modern health and safety standards.

The new one has been built with those standards in mind, with improvements such as swipe card entry, wheelchair access and carefully designed floor plan.

And it has broken away from a traditional police station role. It has no prisoner processing facilities and no cells – prisoners will be dealt with at nearby Huntly or elsewhere – and will house staff in particularly community-facing roles.

“It’s a community hub,” he says. “It’s in a very central location in the town with a five-day, 40 hours-a-week service capability for the community to come in and report things or talk about their concerns."

 Eight staff will be based there, including school community officers, Youth Aid staff, community staff, and front-counter station support officers, with the capacity for more in the future.

Other staff working in the area will be able to come in and use a computer, or use a meeting room to speak to a witness or victim.

“The very nature of the staff working from here means they have significant involvement with the community, with schools, council staff and so on,” says Andrew. “This is an asset for the community to use.”

The new station was built in Hastings and transported in one piece to the site, quickly fitted out and is now operational.

nga carving

Treasured carvings
have been retained.

After Minister Nash unveiled a plaque outside the station, kaumatua Poka Nepia and Koroneihana Cooper led guests through the station, blessing it by reciting karakia.

Minister Nash and Commissioner Bush spoke about its importance to the community in preventing crime and increasing public trust and confidence in Police.

Waikato District Commander Superintendent Bruce Bird says the new station is a huge improvement on the old, but some of the good things from the old station remain – such as precious carvings, that have been reinstalled.

“I’m thrilled with the outcome, and that we were able to take our connections from the past – through the taonga – into the new,” he says.

“This community policing centre has met the brief to improve working conditions for staff, provide better operational functionality, and enable more responsive policing services to the public.

“Our local Police staff worked hard to ensure the station would be fit for their purposes, and I thank them and all involved in the project for getting this great result.”

The station is open from 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.

Look out for more station openings in 2019 and news about refurbishments and front counter upgrades, as Police continues a programme of improving current facilities and workspaces.