Po­lice cel­e­brate 75 years of women

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LUKE KIRKEBY

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.

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