Sunday December 17, 2017   Last updated 11:33AM
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In Huri we trust

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In Huri we trust
WILLIE JACKSON 

I couldn’t believe it when it was revealed that the police would be charging Inspector Huri Dennis with kidnapping.

The police legal team decided that Huri acted inappropriately when he conducted a mock arrest. This was organised after a respected Maori family turned to Huri for help - their grandson, who was 17 at the time, was allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old teenage girl.

The family were at their wits end, so a mock arrest was staged and the grandson was encouraged to leave the country. The family was happy with this result, but then apparently, the grandson made a complaint to the police, and now Huri will be facing kidnapping charges.

It’s a shocking decision from the police. Huri has worked at the coalface for years and worked closely with my organisation, the Manukau Urban Maori Authority, and our Marae, Nga Whare Waatea. He has helped us turn around the high levels of crime from Maori offenders, and been involved intimately with us and our marae justice programmes.

He did this before he started his work with the homeless, so it was no surprise to me that he was successful with this project which he initiated as chairman of Te Puea Marae. In fact, what Huri did with the homeless was magnificent and many people benefited from this initiative.

Huri started the kaupapa with no funding at all but was adamant that the need was huge in our communities and the people would rally and support.

He was one hundred percent right. People from everywhere got behind the kaupapa, not just South Auckland.

Volunteers flocked to the Marae - there was no shortage of food and clothing donations, and a Marae who many thought would have no chance of looking after the homeless stepped up and did the job that the government should have been doing.

In fact, Huri embarrassed the government and was given mass media coverage, appearing almost daily in mainstream and Maori media.

Also, who will ever forget the actions of Minister Paula Bennet’s staff member who leaked the news that Huri had been suspended from the police and was under investigation. This backfired big time, but Huri handled it with grace and refused to criticise the government.

It's a tragedy that the police have made this decision to charge Huri and is an affront to the community. It's obvious that he has support from the supposed victim’s family, so the police would do well to walk away from this or they will risk losing all the goodwill that has been built up over the last few years in South Auckland towards them.

Huri Dennis deserves to be treated like a hero not a kidnapper - let's hope that common sense will prevail.

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