Auckland police are receiving cultural training to gain a better understanding of working with Māori.

Auckland District Commander, Superintendent Karyn Malthus says educating staff on cultural competency ties in with their strategic aim of reducing Māori reoffending by 25%.

"[It's] really important for our people to understand that the people in the community that they're engaging with have their own history, have their own emotional state, have not only what might have happened to a community, or New Zealand in the past, but to themselves and in their own families. 

"And if, as police, we just turn up and deal with this thing, this incident that we're dealing with, and don't think that there's depth to it, then we're in a place of weakness in terms of what difference we can make in their lives."

Police Minister Stuart Nash says it shows police practices are evolving and that they are ensuring their recruits are well equipped.

"Police recognise that the world is changing - police are doing fantastic work in terms of engaging with Māori, but [also] many different cultures. 

"Ideally, the NZ Police Service is fully representative of the communities they serve, so ideally, or aspirationally, you'll have 50% men, 50% women, 17% Māori, 15% Pasifika, and we're not there yet, but we're getting there."

Over a period of ten weeks, a thousand police are expected to take part in the training programme. It's hoped that it will eventually roll out to the rest of the country.