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[Media Release - OPM]New Police Commissioner Confirmed

23 April 2021

Acting in his capacity as Minister of Police, Prime Minister Mark Brown is pleased to officially confirm the appointment of Mr Turepu James Keenan as the new Cook Islands Police Commissioner.


Earlier this week Cabinet approved the Police (Appointment of Commissioner) Order 2021 for promulgation by the Executive Council and Mr Keenan’s Warrant of Appointment was subsequently signed by the Queen’s Representative, Sir Tom Marsters.


Mr Keenan will commence his duties as Police Commissioner from May 31, 2021.


“To have a Cook Islander of Mr Keenan’s calibre and experience in this highly important role is the best possible outcome we could have hoped for,” said Prime Minister Brown.

“His extensive and extremely impressive service record with the New Zealand Police, working across a variety of different policing disciplines, speaks for itself.”


A New Zealand Police veteran of 36 years’ experience, Mr Keenan is currently a Shift Commander rotating between Auckland Metro and the Northern Communications Centre. Upon his promotion to Inspector in 2004, he became the first Cook Islander to achieve the rank of commissioned officer in New Zealand.


Raised in Rarotonga, Mr Keenan is the eldest of six children from the Turepu family of Takitumu. His uncle was the late Turepu Turepu, a prominent Cook Islands artist who established the well-known Ta’akoka Dance Troupe, with whom Mr Keenan performed in Australia and Japan before joining the NZ Police as a new recruit in 1984.


He visits Rarotonga regularly and has a long history of cooperation and connection with the Cook Islands Police Service, having presented lectures to officers here on recent crime and drug trends, prepared drug education packages for Cook Islands youth, and assisted with the training of drug detection dogs at the Rarotonga International Airport.


Mr Keenan has also been actively involved in the Cook Islands community in Auckland, and in the recruitment of prospective police members from within the Polynesian and Maori communities.


He says he is “extremely excited and keen to return home” to take on his new role as Cook Islands Police Commissioner.


Ends: Any enquiries to Press Secretary, Jaewynn McKay +682 55486