Central Otago police iwi liaison officer Constable Peter Rameka talks about his role and the importance of the community and police relationship with iwi in this Q and A piece.
Q: How long have you been based in Central Otago and what does your role with police involve?
I have been policing in Alexandra for 15 months. I am currently relieving on prevention section. In this role we assist victims and, to some extent, offenders for domestic violence incidents. We also look at alcohol harm reduction, and aside from this we also assist the public safety team and other work groups where and when we are needed. I also currently hold the portfolio for iwi liaison officer in Alexandra.
Q: What is your background and what other roles have you done before coming to Alexandra?
Prior to joining the police my wife and I had an interior plastering business for 22 years in Rotorua.
I have worked in a range of policing roles – iwi liaison officer, neighbourhood policing team, tactical crime unit. However, a majority of my policing has been on the frontline.
Q: How do you incorporate relationships with local iwi into your role?
Prior to arriving in Alexandra I had done some relieving as iwi liaison officer in Rotorua.
What I have learnt in Rotorua I have implemented here in Alexandra. Although we don’t have the great number of Maori whanau in Alexandra the issues are still the same. However, it would be fair to say there are fewer incidents in Alexandra compared to Rotorua.
Non-government organisations also play an important role, especially when dealing with families of domestic violence [victims and offenders] and youth offending in Alexandra.
Police cannot do everything, so it’s important to have that relationship with those partner agencies. Another important relationship police have is with our local iwi (Uruuruwhenua).
Such is the importance police see in this relationship here in Central Otago we now have established the very first Maori advisory group with representatives from local police and iwi within Central Otago.
Q: How do you view the community in Central Otago and what are the challenges and positive things you see in the community?
The Alexandra community has been awesome.
It makes my job that much easier when the community buy into what you are about.
When I came here it was about working out my place in the community and I’ve found it; I’ve felt very welcome.
I came from a community where, although some great work was being achieved, it always seemed that just when you thought you were on top of things something happens and you’re back to where you started.
Alexandra is no different. The issues are the same, just on a smaller scale, the difference being I can afford more time to help that whanau or family member from becoming another victim or being re-victimised.
Q: Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing?
I am a sporty type of person. I love all sports, both as a follower or participant. If they had a sport for marbles I’d be into that as well.
“He aha te mea nui o te ao”
“What is the greatest thing in the world”
“He Tangata, he tangata, he tangata”
“It’s the people, the people, the people”