'Pasifika' police car unveiled

Rejecting criticism of their Te Reo car, police have unveiled a fleet car "adorned with designs from various nations in the Pacific".

The Pasifika Car - or Va'a, meaning 'Boat' - was revealed at the 2019 Polyfest at Manukau Sports Bowl on Friday morning.

"With an estimated 200,000 Pasifika people living in Auckland, it's important that we reach out to that community and connect with them," said Counties Manukau district commander Supt Jill Rogers.

"This car is a symbol that shows our dedication to do just that, and also New Zealand Police's commitment to celebrate the communities we serve."

With her at the launch was Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy, Acting Minister of Pacific Peoples Carmel Sepuloni and Snr Sgt Tafāfuna'i David Laumatia, who called it a "gift, a taonga, a mealofa, to our Pasifika  community to engage them and build relationships".

"Police recognise the social importance of tapa within our Pasifika communities, particularly in the form of gifting.

Police say the designs include "key Pasifika symbols… sourced from tapa, fine mats and tatau".

The Pasifika Car.
The Pasifika Car. Photo credit: NZ Police

"The tatau design at the front and rear represents protection, guidance and strength," said Laumatia.

The Pasifika Car will be based in Counties Manukau, but used in "various community events, workshops, recruitment drives and career seminars" around Auckland and the rest of New Zealand.

Police's Te Reo car, unveiled for Te Wiki o te reo Māori in 2017 and bearing the world pirihimana, Māori for police, was criticised on social media.

"Fifty-one percent of NZ's prison population is Māori," former National MP Tau Henare wrote on Twitter. "So this bullshit is about the most insensitive, barbaric and moronic thing I've ever seen."

And police's decision to adorn a vehicle with a rainbow livery for a few weeks last year was slammed as a PR stunt by Auckland Pride.