The New Zealand Police have today formally apologised to Mrs Mii Teotokai, of Tokoroa, and her family after she was wrongfully arrested in 2005 by Tokoroa Police.
In 2009, the Independent Police Conduct Authority found that the Police investigation in relation to the arrest was unprofessional. It found that Police acted unreasonably and that the Police actions were unjustified.
The Bay of Plenty District Commander, Superintendent Glenn Dunbier, says that on behalf of New Zealand Police, he has today unreservedly apologised to Mrs Teokotai and her family for any stress or harm caused in being wrongfully arrested.
"The arrest and actions subsequent to arrest were not in accordance with police best practise and at times were inappropriate, causing unnecessary harm to the reputation of Mrs Teokotai.
"At the same time, New Zealand Police also apologise to St Lukes Punanga, St Lukes PIPC and the Pacific Community for poor police practice that may have contributed to any ill-feeling within the community toward Mrs Teokotai."
Superintendent Dunbier says he has welcomed the opportunity to meet with Mrs Teotokai and her family in person in Tokoroa.
"In the New Zealand Police, it's important that we defend ourselves when we are right, but more importantly, it's critical that we stand up and apologise when we get it wrong – as we have done in this case.
"The meeting we had with the family today was very heartfelt – on both sides. I sincerely hope that this final step in the process is able to bring some closure for all of those involved."
A spokesperson for the Teokotai family, Dave White, says the family has absolutely welcomed the apology from New Zealand Police and is satisfied with both the apology, and the outcome of the IPCA Report.
"We are grateful to have had the opportunity to meet with Superintendent Dunbier today. We are looking at this as an opportunity to move forward in our family and just as importantly, in our community.
"We will continue to offer our support to the Police in Tokoroa and across New Zealand."