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Kuia can retire now her work at Toko is done

TOKOMARU Bay identity Margaret Smith no longer feels the need to conduct night patrols of the township.

Armed with a walking stick, which she describes as ‘‘my protection”, and an abundance of mana, the kuia has kept a watchful eye on troublesome youth for the past five years .

“I’m like a surrogate mother to some of them.”

Mrs Smith has “retired” because her campaign —taken directly to Gisborne District Council — to introduce a liquor ban in Tokomaru Bay has proved successful.

“It’s been passed,’’ she said.

“The community is very aware of the liquor ban.’

Mrs Smith said people had been watching the main road, Waima Road and other areas where people congregated since the liquor ban was introduced.

There had been no further concerns.

She also praised former long-serving local policeman Senior Constable Brian Leach who retired about the same time as she did.

His replacement “is pretty good too”.

Gisborne’s retiring mayor Meng Foon said he liked communities that had solution for themselves.

He was glad that council had supported Mrs Smith’s call for a liquor ban.

“I’m pleased to hear the liquor ban is very effective.

“I wish to acknowledge Margaret and Brian for their good work. Community leaders like Margaret and Brian have been valuable to the well-being of the Tokomaru Bay whanau.

“I wish Margaret all the best on her retirement from the community patrol but she is not a person to sit around.”

Under the council’s alcohol control bylaw, liquor is banned at all times in Tokomaru Bay at —

n State Highway 35 from and including School Road and part of Mangahauini Street.

n The public areas and car park around Mangahauini River mouth.

n Part of council reserve land around the public playground.

n Hatea-a-Rangi Domain and beachfront adjacent to it.

n The reserve and beachfront adjacent to Hatea-a-Rangi School to the Waiotu footbridge.

n Waima Wharf carpark and the reserve area adjacent to it.

n Te Puka Tavern car park.

A council release on the new liquor bylaw said public consultation had been held.

“With a high level of community support, council has decided to implement restrictions.”

ON HER BEAT: Margaret Smith, known as “the local police”, walking the streets of her beloved Tokomaru Bay. Mrs Smith, through her experiences of “patrolling” the East Coast township at night, is right behind an appeal for a public liquor ban. Picture by Liam Clayton