National | Firearms

Firearms Safety Authority reaching out to Māori to keep communities safe

Te Tari Pūreke Firearms Safety Authority has refreshed the Firearm Safety code, including translating it into te reo Māori, aiming to reach as many licence holders, current and prospective, as possible.

The authority estimates somewhere between 7-10 per cent of firearms licence holders in Aotearoa are Māori, many of whom use firearms to gather kai, sport and recreation hunting and pest control on whenua. Te Tari Pūreke director of partnerships Mike McIlraith said the time was right to give the safety code a reo Māori refresh, particularly as it was being overhauled anyway.

“For many Māori, firearms are an important tool and part of life in rural New Zealand.

“Understanding the Firearms Safety Code is necessary for everyone to get a firearms licence, and to safely possess and use firearms.”

Dr Haki Tuapiki (Waikato, Ngāti Tūwharetoa) spent six months translating the code, which replaced the NZ Police’s previous Arms Code (2013).

As well as translating the Safety Code, which provides detailed guidance for the seven rules of firearm safety, outlines the legal obligations of license holders, and safe practices during transport, storage and handling,

Community training

Te Tari Pūreke has also implemented Whakatūpato, a community-based firearms safety training course. The programme has been delivered on marae, particularly in rural and isolated communities.

“We recognise that there’s firearms use out there, there’s people who are really keen to get a licence. And we need to take those services to them because we recognise McIlraith says the course has been well received by those communities and the authority hopes to reach more whānau by mid-2025.

“The benefits of good safe firearms possession and use is kai on the table and it looks after our whenua because it gets rid of the pests because of the damage they do. [It also provides a] great sense of well-being for people when they’re around the bush.”

Normally retailing at $34.99 for a hardcopy, the Firearms Safety Code, in English or Te Reo Māori, is also available for free at and is available in libraries.

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