Police say sorry to Tuhoe

ELTON SMALLMAN
Last updated 12:46 13/08/2014

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Emotions ran high during the powhiri to Police Commissioner Mike Bush when he went to the eastern Bay of Plenty town Ruatoki to apologise for mistakes made during the 2007 Urewera "terror" raids.

About 40 uniformed officers and a contingent of pan-tribal elders were welcomed to Te Rewarewa Marae, seven years after they unlawfully searched and detained people in the Ruatoki Valley.

Local school and kohanga reo students joined the men to perform a haka as the wero went out to Bush, who was escorted by Tauranga Moana elder Kihi Ngatai, Te Arawa's Sir Toby Curtis and Ngati Porou leader Apirana Mahuika.

The raids took place in October 2007 when more than 300 police searched properties in Auckland, Wellington, Palmerston North, Hamilton and the eastern Bay of Plenty.

Bush apologised personally to six families before arriving in Ruatoki today to extend his sympathies to the whole community.

More than 60 people were thought to be involved in guerilla-style camps in the Urewera Ranges.

Police had tapped phones, monitored text messages and set up video surveillance as part of a year-long "anti-terror" operation.

On the day of the raids, police set up roadblocks near the town, manned by members of the armed offenders squad.

Veteran activist Tame Iti who served a sentence at Waikeria Prison on firearms charges after the raids was at the marae today.

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- Stuff

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