Senior Māori police officers in Auckland are running cultural competency training sessions for their colleagues in an effort to bring down crime rates.
Staff of all ranks learned this week not only about protocol, but New Zealand history.
The history included dawn raids, Bastion Point, abuse in state care and urbanisation.
“It can build our empathy in our police organisation as well as to why people may present the way they are and not take them for face value,” says Inspector Scott Gemmell, Māori Responsiveness manager.
For some like Auckland police officer Gordon Campbell, learning some of the history was confronting.
“I found that really quite disheartening.”
Leaders are aware cultural competency’s been viewed negatively in the past.
“If it's touchy feely, so what? We want to engage with our communities, we want to do better, we want to do better than what we've done in the past,” says Superintendent Karyn Malthus from Auckland City District.
Police will train 1,000 Auckland based officers over ten weeks and they're hoping it'll help reduce Māori and Pacific offending 25 per cent by 2025.
“If we have a mindset whereby we are ready to engage in alternative resolutions or we are ready to engage in discretionary powers as well then by having an understanding of our collective history, then we're also in a very powerful position to be able to change,” says Mr Gemmell.
This training is not restricted to Māori culture, staff are also getting training in Chinese culture competency.