Newly-appointed Eastern District Police Commander Superintendent Tania Kura is looking to acknowledge and address family harm in Hawke's Bay after being officially welcomed into the role.

A powhiri was held at Matahiwi Marae yesterday morning, five years after she was welcomed into her former role as Hawke's Bay Area Commander.

Now well-immersed in the community, Ms Kura said family harm was the key focus in her new role.

"It's probably about rightfully acknowledging the challenges that we have in this district. We have some significant family harm issues and that's our place to start,

Advertisement

"It won't be a police led approach either, we need to work together and that's why being here at the marae...I look forward to building better connection with in the future and they'll help us with our family harm journey."

Previously Hawke's Bay Area Commander, Ms Kura was provisionally appointed Eastern District Commander in early June after former district commander Sandra Venables was promoted to Assistant Commissioner Road Policing in Wellington.

Yesterday Ms Kura was taken across the Matahiwi Marae from the manuhiri (visitor) side of to the tangata whenua (one of our own) side by cultural consultant Des Ratima.

"She is no longer seen by the rest of the community as a tapu or visitor...she was moved from a state of a visitor to someone that belongs to the marae," Mr Ratima said.

He added Ms Kura had been speaking of her intent to address family harm since before she was appointed in her new role, and looked forward to working with her in his capacity as cultural advisor to the police when a plan is set out to achieve this.

Ms Kura said while police were well-involved in family violence they were only "part of the picture".

"We offer 24/7 response, usually to a crisis, so that's the part that we do particularly well. There are other supports that need to go alongside a crisis, because the event is only one part of it, so there's lots of other people that we need to engage with to pick up the underlying problems."

Strong connections among the stakeholders, including iwi and governmental agencies, were also needed to make progress, she said.

"When you know each other better we all connect better [so] the cooperation and willingness to sort solutions is far better."

Hastings Women's Refuge manager Julie Hart said she had worked closely with Ms Kura over the past five years and found her to be very supportive of the work the refuge did.

"Certainly any focus put on family violence is going to assist our work. As a team approach to domestic violence in our community I think we do a good job but we need to do it together."

National candidate for Napier David Elliot also agreed with Ms Kura's stance, saying "She's a world-class leader and I think she will bring energy, drive and leadership."

Labour police spokesman and Napier MP Stuart Nash said while he through the focus was a good idea he hoped police would put resources towards dealing with methamphetamine, a "driver" of violence.

"Family violence is our nation's shame...I know this is a big focus for police but I'm hoping methamphetamine and the endemic of P in our communities will also become a focus."

Acting Hastings mayor Sandra Hazelhurst said Ms Kura had worked on a "grassroots level" to identify the needs of the community and was looking forward to continuing to work with her.

"If we can build strong families...we will have a happier community."

Napier mayor Bill Dalton agreed with Ms Kura's family harm priority, adding the issue needed an "attack on all fronts".

Originally from Invercargill, Ms Kura said she was pleased with the promotion, albeit its "unexpected" nature.

"The fact that I've got the job and got a promotion was really unexpected because I was expecting to have to move. So I'm really rapt to be staying here and I love living here, it's a great place to live,

"I feel like this is almost recognition of what the community had done, what we've all done together."

Ms Kura said special acknowledgement for her was staff who worked in Hawke's Bay and "sincerely" wanted to help people.

"They work really hard, they're really committed to doing their very best and sometimes they're under a lot of pressure to do that; to be in a whole lot of places at once. But I trust them to make good decisions and they sincerely want to help people."