The last couple of years haven't been the easiest for policing in Kawakawa. The station lost its sergeant, a couple of constables and public counter staff in 2016 after a roster change and years of frozen police budgets, but it's as very different picture now.
For the first time in at least two years the station has a full complement of staff. The current government's funding boost, a major recruiting drive and the new 24-hour roster for the Mid North has seen the return of a sergeant and seven frontline constables, along with a senior sergeant, a youth officer and a community constable.
The men and women in blue celebrated the station's restored fortunes with an open day on Friday, giving the community a chance to look over the station and meet the staff, with a police dog demonstration free sizzled sausages and even home-made biscuits as added inducements.
Acting Sergeant Mark Barratt said the 100-odd people who accepted the invitation were "stoked" to see a full team again: "This is what the community has been asking for," he said, adding that the 27/7 roster allowed faster response times, and had already led to a number of burglary arrests.
Kawakawa Business Association chairman Malcolm Francis said the community had been noticeably short of police since staff were concentrated in Kerikeri, and he was taking a wait and see approach to promises of new staffing levels.
"The proof will be in the pudding ... but if it goes anything like they say it will, it's going to be awesome," he said.
Under the 24-hour roster, introduced in July, Kawakawa, Kaikohe and Kerikeri take turns at providing night-time cover for the Mid North. Kaitaia made the change to 24/7 yesterday.
It has yet to be decided whether the public counter will be manned in Kawakawa; in the meantime the station, on Albert St, will be open between 7am and 4pm when officers are present. Otherwise visitors will be asked to use an intercom by the door to contact the police communications centre.