A po­lice­woman at last

Shannon gets her dream – 24 years later


It took 25 years and many hur­dles for Shannon Heney to achieve her dream of be­com­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer, but last week she grad­u­ated from the Royal New Zealand Po­lice Col­lege.

Heney, 40, said she had wanted to be a po­lice of­fi­cer since she was 16, but it wasn’t a straight road to the top.

She ap­plied in her 20s, but dis­cov­ered that her swim­ming abil­ity wasn’t at the re­quired level and had to take swim­ming lessons.

The day she called to reap­ply, she re­ceived a phone call telling her her fa­ther had been killed in a he­li­copter crash.

Be­ing the el­dest of 10 chil­dren, Heney moved from Christchurch back home to Murchi­son, in the Tas­man re­gion.

‘‘I de­cided to put things on hold and moved closer to my mother, so I could help with my younger sib­lings and be close to my fam­ily,’’ she said.

Last year her mother moved closer to fam­ily in Hok­i­tika, and Heney saw it as the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to reignite her old dream.

‘‘I never lost sight of want­ing to be a po­lice of­fi­cer, so I reap­plied,’’ she said.

‘‘It never crossed my mind that I wouldn’t try to do it, be­cause I didn’t want to get old and re­gret not giv­ing it a go.

‘‘If you want some­thing it’s not go­ing to be handed to you. You have to work for it. It should be de­served.

‘‘ I have worked re­ally hard. Some of that de­ter­mi­na­tion has come from be­ing with the younger ones and work­ing hard to keep up.’’

Heney said the phys­i­cal as­pect was a lot harder, but she kept up by go­ing for 5.30am runs.

She said she drew in­spi­ra­tion from her fa­ther who, af­ter hav­ing 10 chil­dren, fol­lowed his dream and learnt to fly he­li­copters.

‘‘He said to me if you re­ally want some­thing you will do any­thing to achieve that, and I be­lieve that be­cause I’ve done it as well.

‘‘My ad­vice is that you are never too old to fol­low your dreams. Hope­fully my story will in­spire oth­ers to fol­low theirs.’’

Heney jointly won the Phys­i­cal Train­ing and De­fen­sive Tac­tics award and is be­ing posted to the Tas­man district.


Bright and blue: Shannon Heney grad­u­ated from the po­lice col­lege last week.

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