New police Southern district commander Superintendent Robert
Burns was welcomed to the community with a powhiri at Otakou
marae in Dunedin yesterday.
The event was organised to pass Supt Burns from iwi in the
Bay of Plenty, where he formerly worked, to Ngai Tahu.
He said Southern district police had a good relationship with
local iwi and planned to build on that.
Powhiri were an "important part in the way that police and
Maori have moved over a period of time", he said.
Members of his family and representatives from community
organisations were present.
His former supervisor, Bay of Plenty district commander
Superintendent Gary Smith spoke of "weaving him into the
fabric" of the community through the ceremony.
Supt Smith also described him as "one of the jewels of the
New Zealand police" and commended him for his ability to form
relationships with people and communities.
Otakou marae spokesman Edward Ellison believed the experience
Supt Burns gained while working in the North Island would
benefit him when working with Maori in the Southern area.
"He seems to have all the right attributes," he said.