Pacific police from around Auckland gathered in Papatoetoe for the inaugural Pacific Police Internal Support Network Fono at the end of July 2016, raising important issues faced by the Pacific men and women in blue, while also marking 75 years of women in the force.
The conference saw delegates split into their four groups to be rotated between workshops, from Pacific Women as Pioneers in Police and Health and Safety & Financial planning to Women in Police from a Police employee perspective and Call volume.
The aim of the conference was to provide support and acknowledge cultural and spiritual development and maintenance within the New Zealand Police, as well as provide some organisational training around new policy, guidelines, strategies and innovation.
Organisers hoped such a conference would inspire leadership aspiration amongst Pacific Police, and highlight the importance of acknowledging language and cultural relevancy in an operational setting.
The conference also celebrated 75 years of women in the New Zealand Police, since the first intake of women into Police Training at the Newtown Depot in 1941.
Constable Trish Fatu, a young Samoan police officer based in Central Auckland, says it’s been her dream to be a police officer ever since she was a little girl in primary school.
She says that when their local Constable Jeff Johnson put her in charge of one of the leadership groups, it added to the perspective she had of the police as caring.
She recalled the helpful nature of those who attended to the calls, made when her childhood home kept getting burgled.
Trish says listening to the constable’s work stories inspired her to want to become a police officer, despite the fact that there weren’t very many women, let alone Pacific women, on the force.
She hopes that more young Pacific people will consider joining the NZ Police.
“I’ll encourage any female, or any Pacific Islander, to join the police,” she says confidently, adding, “there’s no age limit, and it’s never too late”.