Constable's story reflects police recruiting policy

JAY BOREHAM
Last updated 05:00 10/08/2012
Recruitment
EXTRA MILE: Constable Lio Kaihau next to the art installation driving the latest police recruitment campaign.

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A woman plagued by demons left her six children, moved into a women's refuge and prepared to die.

With nowhere to turn she believed the only way to oust the evil spirits from her life was to end it.

Constable Lio Kaihau was not about to let that happen.

He'd been given the task of ensuring the woman made it safely to a mental health assessment. His duties stopped there.

But he went further and used his own culture, background and values to help her.

"I was thinking . . . if I don't do anything - is she going to be here tomorrow?" he says.

His story, with the woman's permission, is being used to front the latest police recruitment campaign.

It features in a street art installation in Watford St in Otara.

The scene, by artist Otis Frizzell, catches the moment early last year when the police officer decided he needed to do more than just his job.

Mr Kaihau found the woman hostile and withdrawn. She ignored his questions and when he persisted told him to shut up and became offensive.

"It was a bit awkward at the time and then I just asked her - have you ever been to church? It was silent for a couple of seconds and then all I could see was tears pouring down."

The woman broke down and explained she saw demons crawling the walls at night.

"The reason why she had put herself in women's refuge is because she had six kids and she didn't want that thing or that spirit to affect them," he said.

"She went to church but when the kaumatua came to help her they would get scared because of the things she was telling them - so they didn't come back."

Mr Kaihau used his and the woman's shared faith - even taking her to church - to help her through the traumatic period.

A month later she was enjoying life again and back with her children.

"The reason I joined the police was to help people and this is definitely the highlight of my journey with the police at the moment," Mr Kaihau says.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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