Harvey Ruru says more Maori Wardens are needed in Nelson. Photo: Kate Russell.

More Maori Wardens needed

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They give up their time to keep Nelson’s streets and events safer, but more people are needed to come on duty and “suss it out” as a Maori Warden.

Coordinator Harvey Ruru says they currently have 20 wardens – 13 of whom are dedicated for most duties.

But it’s not enough to cover the workload, especially with a big year of events coming up.

“We would like to have 25 to 30 dedicated Maori Wardens,” Harvey says. “September 15 is when the All Blacks vs Argentina game happens at Trafalgar Park and we would like at least 25 dedicated Maori Wardens to be on duty for this event.”

Maori Wardens maintain a close relationship with the police and have many roles in the community, including discouraging crime on the streets, assisting in keeping youth and people safe, while being compassionate of those in need.

They hit the streets of Nelson from Thursday to Saturday nights, working in pairs, and focusing on any areas where young people gather.

They may deliver young people home to their parents, or confiscate alcohol in the liquor ban area.

On the community welfare side, the wardens support families and have opened their own homes to people needing shelter. They also support people in the courts.

Services are not confined to Maori – all nationalities are helped and supported by the wardens.

Harvey says they had a busy 2017 with the Masked Parade and Santa Parade and is encouraging anyone who is interested in becoming a warden to reach out.

“We’re a fun team to be with, free training is provided and we assist with your future potential,” he says. “Many Maori Wardens have been with us as a step towards employment, but mainly a step in self confidence by being in a supportive team.”

To find out more, contact Harvey Ruru on 0273489715 or 5469556.