Down to the learning - Tuituia 7
Porirua Travel Blog› entry 3 of 86 › view all entries
February 6th, 2009 – by: goezi
February 6th is the day New Zealanders remember the signing of the Treaty between the Maori Chiefs and the English. This document saw the end of the maori wars and it's name, Waitangi, comes from the location it was signed in 1840.
We had the day off so found things to do around, or out of the college. A few of us went into Porirua City and saw a movie.
On the Saturday most of the Recruits leave the college so when we went to breakfast in our strange deployment uniforms with UN badges there was just a little murmuring.
Yes, we had to attend lectures that day.
Apart from the lectures, where we learned about the country and it's politics, living conditions, customs and culture, and the medical hazards we'd face there, we learned about the UN, what our roles might be, how the NZ Police would support us.
We also learned that our deployment is the 7th to be sent to Timor Leste since the UN and NZ Police returned to help the country. Our NZ Police Mission in Timor Leste is called Operation Tuituia. This name is derived from the Maori term meaning threading, sewing or weaving together.
We then addressed the practical needs of our roles; riot training, firearms and of course, we had to learn a Haka so we could correctly meet and greet the staff from Tuituia 6 whom we were to relieve. They would be well versed in their haka so we had to pull finger if we were to make a good show of ours.
The one we settled on was the one made famous by our National Rugby team, The All Blacks. This haka (known as Kamate Kamate) actually came from the tribe right here in Porirua so we could certainly argue the point that it was appropriate for us to be doing it, rather than us choosing this one because it was the easiest to learn because it is so well known.
The day we began our lectures we were struck a blow about how the deployment would be run.
Previously all 25 staff left the country as the next 25 strong deployment entered. There are 1500 Police involved with the UNMIT (United Nations Mission in Timor Leste) and it is usual for the UN to mix the nationalities of police so that there are no more than 3 from any one country together. We had been expecting this would be the same for us until we were advised that 18 months of negotiation by the NZ Police had been successful and our deployment was to be the first that would work in larger numbers and deliver the NZ model of Community Orientated Policing.
NZ is well respected in the field of COP. We have a small population of 4 million in this country and until 3 years ago our staff numbers were just 6 500.
This model of COP has been well received in the locations it has been delivered in the world and is excellent for getting communities working together in a trusting partnership with their police. It is the friendly ease of communication between police and public that Kiwis have that means we are held in very high regard during these types of missions.
Our missions leaders were very clear that we were to demonstrate the same high level of integrity and behaviour whilst we were in country because it is this reputation that means many doors are opened up to Kiwi staff that other nation's staff have found difficult to negotiate with the locals.
The point of changing our deployment timings meant that half of Tuituia 7 would fly in country on 9th April with the balance being there 9th June. this would give an overlap of a couple of months allowing us to maintain our momentum rather than spending the first couple of months getting to know and gaining the trust of the locals every time we reached the end of a deployment and it was all out, all in.
We could see the logic and the benefit of this strategy but we'd already started the bonding process and it hit us hard to learn that we would now be staggering our six months. Of course this meant there would be problems with our Haka too! It's much easier to hide in 25 than it is to hide amongst 13!!
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