Police today apologised for arresting a Tokoroa woman more than five years after she lost her job when she was wrongly charged with conspiracy to commit arson and two years after the police watchdog found the investigation was botched.

Mii Teotokai, a justice of the peace and a respected member of the Pacific Island community, was wrongly arrested for the 2005 arson of Tokoroa's St Lukes Tamariki and Mokopuna learning facility where she worked.

She lost her job as a result of the police investigation but the charge was later dismissed for lack of evidence and another woman was later jailed for the arson.

Former policeman Dave White complained about his mother-in-law Mrs Teotokai's arrest and in 2009 the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) found the investigation leading up to Mrs Teotokai's arrest was "unprofessional".

However, IPCA did not make public its findings because it deemed them not of sufficient public interest and did not recommend any disciplinary action against the officers in the investigation.

Mrs Teotokai refused an offer of compensation from police.

Bay of Plenty district commander Superintendent Glenn Dunbier today formally apologised to Mrs Teotokai on behalf of New Zealand Police "for any stress or harm" caused by her wrongful arrest.

Police also apologised to St Lukes and the wider Pacific community for "poor police practice that may have contributed to any ill-feeling within the community toward Mrs Teokotai".

"The arrest and actions subsequent to arrest were not in accordance with police best practise and at times were inappropriate, causing unnecessary harm to the reputation of Mrs Teokotai," Mr Dunbier said.

Police had met with Mrs Teotokai and her family.

"The meeting we had with the family today was very heartfelt - on both sides. I sincerely hope that this final step in the process is able to bring some closure for all of those involved."

Mr Dunbier said it was important for police to " stand up and apologise when we get it wrong".

Mr White, a spokesman for the Teokotai family, said the family was satisfied with the apology and the outcome of the IPCA report.

"We are grateful to have had the opportunity to meet with Superintendent Dunbier today. We are looking at this as an opportunity to move forward in our family and, just as importantly, in our community."

Superintendent Gary Smith, one of several officers criticised over Mrs Teotokai's investigation, was last year appointed to a NZ Police liaison post in London.

- NZPA