• May 11, 2022
Avondale Māori wardens showing their vests of honour when protecting the community. Photo: Eva Griffin-Jones
Ngā Wātene Māori O Akarana Ki Tāmaki Makaurau are doing wonders for the Avondale community alongside the police to ensure streets are safe.
With the office being the first of its kind in Avondale, wardens are working throughout the week and weekend to patrol the streets.
Avondale Māori Warden Association Kaiwhakahaere Jojo Paikea says she treats local "streeties" like whanau, and not a “case number.”
“We make sure our community is ok, we work in partnership with Avondale police and patrol the main street and make sure they are ok. We are one big family,” Paikea says.
“We are the last move before the police, we are here to warn people; the homeless will not listen to the police, but they will listen to us.”
She says that anyone can join the group to help protect the Avondale community.
“Back in the day, you had to be Māori to be a part of our initiative - but today, we have so many cultures in our blood we have stopped all that, it doesn’t make sense.”
Paikea says the new warden's office will support volunteers, regardless of background, with the skills to work in the community.
The wardens commit to work in their spare time, and many also work jobs outside.
Kaiwhakahaere-tahi o te taitama Jay-Dean Tihore-Kati says she uses her age to connect with youth who are on the streets.
“The more Avondale feels a community, and the more we are here, the more they want to change their behaviour and respect us, to work with us [and] not against us,” Tihore-Kati says.
“I come from the wrong side of the tracks and now I’m on the right side and the feeling is fuzzy to me.”
The Avondale community is whanau and Ngā Wātene Māori O Akarana Ki Tāmaki Makaurau continues to work towards improved safety in the streets.