A police inspector who was acquitted of kidnapping a 17-year-old boy to end a young love affair will leave the force.
Sources have told the Herald that Hurimoana Dennis, 52, will leave his post as an inspector and the national Maori strategic adviser, while his co-accused, Sergeant Vaughan Perry, 45, is now back on active duty.
Dennis himself told the Herald he will retire in the next few months after a 32-year career serving Queen and country, but would not talk further on the record.
Late last month a High Court jury found both Dennis and Perry not guilty of a combined three counts of kidnapping the teen over two incidents in 2015.
Following the verdicts Detective Superintendent Chris Page told the Herald that an employment investigation was under way into both officers' actions.
The Herald understands that Dennis and Perry's conduct and court case has divided opinion among Auckland police.
Dennis wouldn't comment over whether the investigation had prompted his retirement.
He did, however, say he stood by his comments to the press after his nearly three week-long trial.
"My actions, or my involvement with this investigation and this issue, can best be described as practicable common sense, big picture policing, with a bit of heart," he said.
"The only thing that Vaughan and I have done wrong is be very proud Maori officers - who were quite vocal about the number of Maori men coming into the judicial system.
"The only other thing we've done wrong is we just care too much."
Dennis, who belongs to Rongowhakaata and Ngati Porou iwi and was also the chairman of Te Puea Marae in Mangere, was stood down from his duties in September 2015.
Details that he was under criminal investigation were leaked to a journalist last year by a staff member of then Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett.
During the trial, the young Auckland man, now 19, claimed the two officers locked him in a prison cell, threatened him with a rape charge, and "deported" him to Australia to end his relationship with his 15-year-old girlfriend.
The incidents occurred as the teens' families argued over the underage relationship, and after the boy's mother had filed a formal complaint with police about her son.
Police decided not to charge the teen, before Dennis, a family friend, organised a "mock arrest" on May 5, 2015, to scare the boy off the relationship, the Crown alleged.
The teen was processed at the Auckland Central Police Station, as though he had been arrested by Dennis and duty custody sergeant Perry, the court heard.
Dennis then presented two choices, the teen said when giving his testimony.
"He said to me I could either go to Australia, or option two, he would take me downstairs and I'd be charged for statutory rape," the teen told the court.
"At the time he said I'd serve a minimum of 14 years. At that point I was really scared."
The boy said Dennis then led him back to the interview room where they talked about a flight to Australia.
The following morning the teen was taken to Auckland Airport by family and placed on a flight to Sydney.
Dennis said during his police interview that his conduct was justified under Maori lore, the police's Turning of the Tide and Prevention First strategies, and that both were an
alternative resolution for young Maori.
On June 10, 2015, the teen said he decided to "escape" from Sydney and return home.
But the court heard that Dennis "swung into action" and organised for armed officers to meet the boy at Auckland Airport and escort him off the aircraft. The teen was then returned to Australia on another flight.
When back in Sydney, he claims he was assaulted before he fled to friends of his girlfriend's mum and reported the scenario to New South Wales police.