August 07, 2023
Cup of tea strategy for iwi crime fighter
The country’s first iwi liaison officer says after 50 years on the force he still enjoys serving Māoridom as a police officer.
Sergeant Wayne Panapa, of Waikato and Ngati Whatua, plans to retire next year, at age 76.
He says his policing style was heavily influenced by policing legend Paddy Whiu, of Ngāpuhi, who taught him the importance of kanohi-ki-te-kanohi when dealing with Māori.
“His greatest weapon of preventing crime was to sit down, have a cup of tea, a peanut-brownie biscuit, and talk to the person – ‘mate, at the end of the day, we have a cup of tea. I might have to lock you up afterwards – but at least we’ve been able to break bread before we do that,'” he says.
Wayne Panapa and another long-serving officer, Deputy Commissioner Wally Haumaha, 71, of Te Arawa, will both officially retire on Waitangi Day next year.