Thursday, 14 March 2024 - 1:37pm

Protecting our Pacific neighbours

1 min read

News article photos (3 items)

Acting Sergeant Eve Tremain and Senior Constable Pehi Potaka speak with RSE workers from Vanuatu with the support of their emplo
The RSE workers are given information about keeping themselves safe while working in Hawke's Bay.
RSE workers waiting to be rescued from a rooftop after Cyclone Gabrielle hit Hawke's Bay last year.

Ensuring Pacific Island workers coming to Hawke’s Bay for seasonal work stay safe and receive good support is key for Police, employers and Government agencies.

More than 8,000 RSE (Registered Seasonal Employees) workers, predominantly from the Pacific Islands, come to Hawke’s Bay each year to work in the horticulture and viticulture industry, undertaking planting, maintenance, harvesting, packing and winter pruning.

There are more than 60 RSE employers and contractors in the Bay, who work with Police and other Government agencies to educate and inform the workers. 

Many of those returning this year were in Hawke’s Bay when Cyclone Gabrielle hit on 14 February 2023.

Pouwhakataki: Iwi Liaison Coordinator Acting Sergeant Eve Tremain.

Pouwhakataki: Iwi Liaison Coordinator Acting Sergeant Eve Tremain, pictured right, and her colleagues, with the support of employers, meet with the workers when they arrive in the region to discuss ways they can keep themselves safe while working in New Zealand.

“We have had instances of RSE workers being assaulted while withdrawing money at ATMs, others unwittingly buying stolen goods, or being taken advantage of and raking up unnecessary debt,” says Eve.

She says it’s not only about building their trust in Police in New Zealand but also ensuring they know what pitfalls are out there.

“We encourage them to stay together and avoid identified trouble spots." 

Eve says it's her teams' job to help keep RSE workers safe from harm and crime. 

"We want them to have a positive experience in New Zealand and return home safely to their families with their hard-earned money.”

Eve and her team also discuss impaired driving, security and burglary with the newly arrived workers.

National Principal Partnerships Advisor - Pacific, Inspector Peter Stokes, says it is important to look after the vulnerable RSE workforce who are so far from home.

“These people contribute to our economy and provide for their families at home and the economy of their home countries,” he says.