Long-serving police office and Assistant Commissioner Wallace (Wally) Haumaha is "honoured and humbled" by his new appointment as Deputy Commissioner.

Police Minister Stuart Nash made the announcement today.

"The Deputy Commissioner of Police is a statutory appointment, made by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister."

Haumaha, QSM and ONZM, has been appointed for five years, taking up the position from June 3.

The term of the current Deputy Commissioner Vivian (Viv) Rickard ends on Saturday. Rickard was appointed in 2010 and served two terms.

Haumaha is currently deputy chief executive Māori, at Assistant Commissioner rank.

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The position leads the Māori, Pacific and ethnic services communities group. He first joined New Zealand Police in 1984.

Haumaha told the Rotorua Daily Post he was proud to be both a Ngongotahā boy and a Rotorua boy.

"I've already told the Commissioner [Mike Bush] that we need to take a trip back to Rotorua and visit John Paul College. We're both old boys of the school back in the day when it was Edmund Rice College.

"How's that - not bad for two Rotorua lads."

Haumaha said he was honoured and humbled to have the support of the Government, the Police Minister, the Commissioner and the people from all sectors of the country in which he had worked.

"Since the announcement was made my phone has gone nuts. I've had messages of congratulations from one end of the country to the other and from individuals and organisations as diverse as you can imagine."

He said there were significant challenges ahead.

"Targets have been set by police including reducing the Māori representation in prison by 30 per cent and also reducing Māori re-offending by 25 per cent. These are hefty targets but I'm positive they are achievable.

"The position of Deputy Commissioner gives me the mandate to strengthen relationships between organisations and the police and to look at other options other than arrest. We aim to make an impact in this area."

Haumaha said he had been planning to return home to Rotorua in the not to distant future to do more work at his marae, Waiteti, but the Commissioner had put paid to that.

"I have been looking at social housing for our people, with the housing shortage and all, but this appointment means I'll just have to work harder at night," he laughed.

Nash said Haumaha was a highly respected leader.

"He has led work to build the cultural capability of police across all districts, and is a key adviser on diversity strategies for police recruitment. He is committed to enhancing police leadership and responsiveness to Māori, Pacific and ethnic communities.

"Mr Haumaha has driven the development and implementation of the restorative justice initiative Te Pae Oranga, formerly known as Iwi Community Panels. The panels provide alternative resolutions for low-level offending and require an offender to plead guilty, work on a plan to identify the harm they have caused, and identify ways to avoid offending again.

"He has been responsible for the Iwi Community Panels since they were established by the previous Government as a pilot scheme in 2014. We have now made them a permanent part of the Prevention First operating model."

Nine panels are in place and a further four will be established next month.

Planning is also under way for another six by early 2019.

"This work is a crucial component of plans to reform the criminal justice system by reducing reoffending and victimisation and breaking the cycle that leads to imprisonment," Nash said.

"Wally Haumaha has the clear vision and leadership skills required to deliver on the Government's priorities for police.

"I expect him to play a key role to strengthen Māori leadership within police and enhance the relationship between police and Māori communities, in order to reduce both victimisation and offending. He is also superbly placed to work with other justice sector agencies to reduce the prison population.

"I'm very pleased to appoint Mr Haumaha to this role. I also wish to acknowledge and thank Viv Rickard for his commitment and service to police, especially as a member of the police executive for most of the past decade," Nash said.

Wally Haumaha - timeline

1998:

Awarded the Queen's Service Medal for service to the community in the Criminal Investigation Branch and as the Officer in Charge of Community Policing. He established Community Watch, a crime-busting unit which patrolled the city centre and tourist hot-spots.

2000: Awarded the Police Commissioner's Commendation for establishing the first Memorandum of Understanding between Police and 14 major iwi groups in the Bay of Plenty.

2003: Appointed to new role as national strategic Māori adviser at police national headquarters in Wellington after his career in Rotorua.

2004: Lead the largest Māori protest hīkoi in history, the Seabed and Foreshore hīkoi, from Northland to Wellington without incident or arrest. Awarded the Police Commissioner's Commendation for dedication to duty as a result.

2007: Appointed to new role as national manager of Māori Pacific and ethnic services

2017: Made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Source: www.police.govt.nz