Above: Recruits perform the police haka at the Wing 322 graduation. The Police Association’s Māori name, Te Aka Hāpai, reflects values that are integral to the organisation and its members.
Certified translator Vini Olsen-Reeder, a lecturer in Māori studies at Victoria University, has worked with the association to create a name that reflects the values and culture of our organisation.
Dr Olsen-Reeder said his method for selecting a possible name was to consider how the association looks after its members, leveraging on the strength of its people and acting as their guardians.
The name is not a direct translation, but rather a phrase that can be understood and used by Māori speakers.
Dr Olsen-Reeder said the word “aka” can translate as a tree/plant metaphor. “The police family are the main trunk on which the vine [aka] climbs,” he said. Adding that “while vines are sometimes threatening to their supporting trees, native New Zealand vines tend to live in symbiotic relationships with the native trees they rely on”. The word “hāpai” means to elevate or uplift, encompassing the care and collective strength of the association.
The word could be used metaphorically for elevating mana in others or as a literal term to carry things in front, where they are visible, he said.
“In this light, it certainly seems apt for an association that seeks to be a watchful guardian for the wellbeing of the police family.”
Last year, the Police Credit Union, which has close links to the association, added a te reo Māori translation to its name – Te Uniana Whakanama Pirihimana – as part of a refresh of its branding.
After receiving positive feedback from committee members on a suggested Māori name, the association has decided to adopt Te Aka Hāpai for use.