Celebrations for 75 years of women in NZ police force

(NZ Police)
(NZ Police)

There are celebrations in Auckland on Friday marking 75 years since the first women joined the police.

Ten women joined the 'boys in blue' in 1941, and were placed in a women's division.

A number of policewomen, including one of the first officers from the 1943 intake, will be celebrating at the Auckland Town Hall Councillor's Lounge.

Six officers will be modelling replica uniforms from throughout the decades, including the memorable 1960s mini-skirt and boots with uniform handbags.

Celebrations for 75 years of women in NZ police force

Women have taken varied roles in the police and worked on cases like the Rainbow Warrior bombing and the Wahine disaster.

Detective Cushla Watson joined Police in 1973 and was a seasoned detective when French agents bombed the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour on July 10, 1985.

The sinking killed crew member Fernando Pereira and sparked one of the biggest criminal investigations New Zealand has ever seen. Cushla, then aged 34, was involved from day one and became an integral part of the team, which at its peak had more than 130 officers, including 66 detectives.

Her role included being sent to Europe to conduct inquiries, making her the first female officer sent overseas by New Zealand Police in an investigative capacity.

She visited Switzerland, France and England to find information on Alain Mafart and Dominique Prieur. She linked key evidence which led to the conviction of the two French agents.

Celebrations for 75 years of women in NZ police force

"Nearly 20 percent of constabulary staff are now women and we have set an aspirational target of 50 percent, over time," Police Commissioner Mike Bush says. 

"I am committed to providing a workplace and culture that supports our talented and committed female staff throughout their career."

Celebrations for 75 years of women in NZ police force


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