Police Commissioner Peter Marshall says New Zealand Police has lost a mighty totara following the death of Sergeant Patrick (Paddy) Whiu.
Sergeant Whiu, aged 62 years, died at his home in Northland yesterday morning, following a short illness.
Police Commissioner Peter Marshall says Paddy had served in the New Zealand Police for 41 years, graduating from the George Austing recruit wing in April 1973, where he was posted to Whangärei and later to Kaeo in 1985, as the sole charge officer.
In 1997, Paddy became Northland's first Iwi Liaison Officer (ILO) and later began contributing to and facilitating ILO courses at the Royal New Zealand Police College.
In 2001, he received a Queens Service Medal (QSM) for public services in the New Years Honours. In 2004, he was honoured with a Commissioner's Commendation for his role in the foreshore and seabed hikoi, from Northland to the steps of Parliament.
Since 2007, Paddy had played an integral role in the Maori, Pacific and Ethnic Services (MPES) team at Police National Headquarters, forging relationships with Iwi leaders in support of Maori Wardens and led training to build the Wardens' effectiveness and professionalism.
Commissioner Marshall says, "Throughout Paddy's career, he was instrumental in developing relationships between New Zealand Police and Maori, significantly increasing trust and confidence among Maori to work with Police to reduce crime and crash."
"On Waitangi Day last week I was proud to present Paddy with his Silver Merit Award, which is the highest honour bestowed on a Police officer for meritorious performance of duties."
"Sergeant Paddy Whiu leaves an inspirational legacy. As the well-known Maori proverb says - 'Kua hinga he totara i te wao nui a Tane.' A totara has fallen in the forest of Tane", says Commissioner Marshall.
Paddy Whiu is lying in state at Kaingahoa Marae in Kaikohe. Arrangements for his tangi are currently being finalised.
Moe mai e Paddy, te moengaroa.