Police celebrate 75 years of women
There were a few alarmed looks as a police procession made its way around Tokoroa’s Central Business District on Thursday.
But there was no cause for concern, it was simply to celebrate 75 years of New Zealand policewomen.
The procession included the handing over of an illuminated baton representing the police tohu which was welcomed by waiata and karakia from Raukawa representatives.
It’s making its way through the North Island’s policing districts from Cape Reinga to Wellington where it will meet its other half which has travelled up the South Island from Bluff.
Police support staff, Maori wardens, mayor Neil Sinclair, deputy mayor Jenny Shattock, firemen, and others all turned up to show their support.
Tokoroa Senior Constable Marian (Jaks) Sherwood became emotional as she reflected on how far policewomen have come in New Zealand.
‘‘Back in 1938 10 women were recruited into the New Zealand Police and they had to be between 25 and 40 years old, unmarried or As of April 30 2016, women comprise of 32.19 per cent of all New Zealand Police staff and 19.8 per cent of constabulary staff.
widowed. If they decided to marry they had to have permission,’’ she said.
Jump to the present day the Tokoroa Police Station now has 12 policewomen.
‘‘Over the years I haven’t come across any ‘you can’t do that, you’re a woman’ attitudes. The guys have all been helpful and none put us down,’’ Sherwood said.
‘‘We are the bossy aunties, the bossy mums, and the bossy grannies but that is who we are and that is kind of why we joined the police.
‘‘We have a passion for our community and our people. It’s a great job, it’s a life, and I love it,’’ she said.
South Waikato District Council deputy mayor Jenny Shattock said 75 years was a significant milestone.
‘‘[Having] women in the New Zealand police didn’t happen by chance, it happened because some remarkable women led the way tirelessly campaigning to be accepted,’’ she said.