My future sits well under the guidance of Te Puea - Hurimoana Dennis

By Mānia Clarke

Hurimoana Dennis who was found not guilty of kidnapping a 17-year-old says he will continue to help the homeless after he retires next year. The frontman of Te Puea marae's Manaaki Tangata programme says the role is as a police liaison officer, but for Dennis, there are fewer restrictions in the Te Puea role.

The saying of Te Puea, "Work hard for the betterment of our people" remains as the guiding principles for Dennis.

Dennis says, “No matter what, I'm here and I'm happy because this is about caring for people, caring for the most needy. This is the same role as a police liaison officer, but for me, there are just fewer restrictions here.”

It was a relief for Dennis who was found not guilty last month of two charges and Sergent Vaughn Perry one charge, of kidnapping a teenage boy at the Auckland High Court.

“The only thing we've done wrong is be very proud Māori officers, that's all.”

Mr Dennis was stood down by police in September 2015 as the National Māori Strategic Advisor after a complaint was laid by the then 17-year-old youth, which led to the kidnapping charges.

“The last two and a half years of my life, and that of my family’s. Indeed, the last two weeks have been absolutely humiliating.”

Last year details of the investigation were leaked to media by a staffer of Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett, following her visit to the Manaaki Tangata programme. But Dennis has put that all behind him as he looks forward to the future.

“I am still on holiday with my family. That's the most important thing right now.  And so I don't really know what's ahead for me. In closing my future sits well under the guidance of Te Puea.”

Dennis is expected to formally retire in April next year, which marks his 32nd year of service.