Look­ing af­ter Porirua

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Per­sis­tence has paid off for new Porirua neigh­bour­hood watch co-or­di­na­tor Matthew Sa­muela.

Af­ter be­ing told no fund­ing ex­isted for the job po­lice had of­fered him last Au­gust, Mr Sa­muela took the mat­ter to lo­cal politi­cians, who brought the mat­ter to Po­lice Min­ster Ju­dith Collins, and she ap­proved fund­ing for the role.

Mr Sa­muela was of­fi­cially sworn in to the job on July 12 at a powhiri at­tended by about 20 Can­nons Creek com­mu­nity rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

His role is to en­cour­age Can­nons Creek res­i­dents to re­port crime and look out for their neigh­bours.

‘‘Hav­ing lived in Porirua for most of my life I want to see our chil­dren, el­ders and peo­ple from all walks of life, to feel safe, happy and proud of our city of Porirua,’’ he says.

When crimes such as bur­glar­ies and graf­fiti hap­pen, most of the time neigh­bours have seen the of­fender but did not call po­lice.

‘‘In most cases neigh­bours saw cul­prits do­ing some­thing sus­pi­cious but didn’t know what to do.’’

As a lo­cal, Mr Sa­muela is well placed to get among the com­mu­nity, spread the neigh­bour­hood sup­port mes­sage, and sup­port vic­tims of crime.

How­ever well he is suited to the role, Mr Sa­muela con­sid­ers him­self lucky to have won it.

Af­ter show­ing prom­ise in many fields, study­ing me­dia and Pa­cific stud­ies, law, jour­nal­ism and busi­ness at var­i­ous uni­ver­si­ties, Mr Sa­muela de­vel­oped health prob­lems and spent six years on the sick­ness ben­e­fit.

It was only when he en­rolled in a Work and In­come work tran­si­tion pro­gramme that his luck turned around.

His work tran­si­tion men­tor Richard Wither­ford-Smith ap­proached lo­cal po­lice about cre­at­ing a job for Mr Sa­muela.

Se­nior con­sta­ble Rob Gre­gory, Porirua’s com­mu­nity en­gage­ment of­fi­cer, jumped at the idea of sup­ple­ment­ing Neigh­bour­hood Watch vol­un­teers with a full­time sup­port per­son.

‘‘We’re al­ways go­ing to work with vol­un­teers but we needed that ex­tra in­put, and a paid po­si­tion was the best way to do that,’’ he says.

He knew im­me­di­ately Mr Sa­muela was right for a role. ‘‘Within five min­utes I re­alised this was the guy,’’ he says.

‘‘Matt is a per­son peo­ple can go to.’’

Part­ner­ship: Af­ter months of de­lay and un­cer­tainty, Se­nior con­sta­ble Rob Gre­gory wel­comed Can­nons Creek lo­cal Matthew Sa­muela to the team on July 12.

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