July 22, 2019
More resources and path to autonomy for wardens
District Māori councils and Māori wardens have reached agreements about developing structures to give the voluntary force more autonomy.
The wardens and councils along with Te Puni Kōkiri and the police met at Tūrangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawāhia last week for a national hui on the future of the wardens.
Auckland District Māori Council chair and New Zealand Māori Council executive director Matthew Tukaki says the hui was boosted by the announcement from Deputy Prime Minister of a $3.7 million boost that will go for increased training, recruitment and promotion.
He says there was broad consensus among the councils that it was time for the wardens to have more say in the direction their mahi was going, while retaining the warranting system and the framework of the Māori Community Development Act.
"The biggest win of all of this is for everybody to come together about progressing towards a form of autonomy, of providing our Māori wardens with the tools and resources but also the support structures they need to carry out their work into the future," Mr Tukaki says.
Because of their deep ties to the community and their history, he believes Māori wardens could have a role to play addressing issues like children in state care, suicide prevention and housing.
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