New commander for district

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.

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