Māori Wardens Want People to Feel at Ease
The strategies used by the Indigenous community policing alternative, the Māori Wardens, are in stark contrast to more muscular tactics pitched by the incoming government, Natasha Frost reports for The New York Times.
Christopher Luxon, the country’s new prime minister and the leader of the centre-right National Party, pitched voters on a new era of tougher sentencing, Frost writes.
Experts have questioned the need for such a shift, saying the underlying issues would remain unresolved. Many Māori Wardens, the majority of whom are women over 40, know them firsthand: economic hardship, alienation, addiction.
“We want people to feel at ease with us,” said Garnet Wetini Weston-Matehaere, a Warden. “Our magic tool is our mouths.”
The Wardens’ diverse backgrounds, they say, give them insight.
Original article by Natasha Frost, The New York Times, November 28, 2023.
Photo by Cornell Tukiri.