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Firearms Discharge at Tuhoe Tangi

Firearms Discharge at Tuhoe Tangi

National News Release 8:01pm 3 February 2005
Police have acknowledged that the discharge of firearms in the presence of dignitaries as part of tangi have occurred in the past at Tuhoe marae, the District Commander for Bay of Plenty, Superintendent Gary Smith said today.

Superintendent Smith said that he could confirm that a firearm was pointed into the air and discharged at the tangi of Sir Te Ahikaiata John Turei. The Prime Minister, Governor General and members of the Diplomatic Protection Squad were present.

"On a separate day as part of the same Tangi a firearm was again discharged into the air as part of the welcoming process for the Commissioner of Police and other senior Police officers.

"DPS members who were present on the first occasion brought the event to the attention of local police and inquiries were made to establish that this was the custom on this marae and to determine details of the practice.

"Discussions were held with the Marae Committee to confirm the practice and to advise them of their legal obligations if they were to continue. This included ensuring that the person carrying out the practice was a licensed firearm holder and that it would be done in such a way as not to alarm or intimidate people. Blank rounds were essential.

"Considering the context of this practice and the response from the Marae Committee Police decided not to take the matter any further," said Superintendent Gary Smith.

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