Police say Māori women who apply to become officers are more likely to succeed, despite a damning report on The Hui that aired on Sunday.
Kawerau woman Nen Tulloch was twice denied a job with the police, despite passing all their tests - not to mention the force's recent drive to expand and diversify its workforce.
She was told she didn't meet the core values of the New Zealand Police, but Ms Tulloch believes her application was rejected partly because she upset an officer while in training.
She was shadowing another officer in a training exercise called 'Scope'.
"My nephew came up and said hi, and said, "Arrest me aunty, arrest me,' and this guy turns around and says, 'I'm going to arrest him,' and I said what? He's just having a laugh," Ms Tulloch told The Hui.
"I thought, wow. So, I ask another person because I didn't want someone getting arrested, and that officer said no, 'We're not going to arrest him,' and that guy took offence."
Other reasons Ms Tulloch believes stopped her achieving her dream of being a cop is that she's Tuhoe, and knows people who don't have a positive view of the police.
Privacy Act obstacle
Police declined to tell Newshub exactly why Ms Tulloch wasn't hired, except that she "did not meet our criteria for progressing to become a police recruit". Police said the details of their decision couldn't be made public, regardless of Ms Tulloch's privacy waiver.
"We acknowledge that this can be frustrating for applicants, but we obviously have to comply with our Privacy Act obligations," said deputy chief executive people Kaye Ryan.
"We have met with the individual and her whanau to fully explain our final decision. We categorically reject any suggestion that the decision was made because the individual was a female Māori, or was affiliated with Tuhoe."
The stats on Māori recruitment
Police supplied Newshub with statistics on the make-up of the force, and recruitment rates.
While 17.5 percent of all applicants last year become cops, the success rate was higher for Māori women - 19.7 percent.
In 2016, 15 percent of all Māori applicants were accepted, compared to 11 percent overall.
Presently only one in five police officers are women. As for ethnicity:
- 69.2 percent are Pākehā
- 12.3 percent are Māori
- 5.4 percent are Pasifika
- 3.5 percent are Asian.
The Māori figure is below the police's target rate of 12.8 percent for January 2018. By 2020, police want to have 15.2 percent of the force to be Māori.
By 2021, police hope half of all new recruits are women. A recruitment drive last year had 36 percent of responses from women.