NZ policewomen celebrate 75 years

Detective Constable Fiao'o Fa'amausili juggles her role in the adult sexual assault team with her duties as captain of ...
ANNA LOREN/STUFF

Detective Constable Fiao'o Fa'amausili juggles her role in the adult sexual assault team with her duties as captain of the Black Ferns.

Put in the hard yards and you'll get the results.

That's Detective Constable Fiao'o Fa'amausili's​ advice to women wanting to join the New Zealand police.

The 35-year-old, who works in the adult sexual assault team at central Manukau's multi-agency centre, is one of about 1800 female police officers serving throughout the country. 

Their contributions are being honoured in June as the organisation celebrates 75 years of women in the force.

Fa'amausili grew up in Samoa and moved to Mangere East when she was 5. She graduated from police college in 2010 and began her career in Otahuhu, first on the frontline, then for the Counties Manukau tactical crime unit and criminal investigation branch.

Now living in Manurewa, she splits her time between policing and her duties as captain of the Black Ferns women's rugby team.

Fa'amausili says there is "a lot of support" for female cops nowadays and it is becoming more common for women to be promoted.

"I don't think it's held me back. Even though you're in a male-dominated job, the women can do the job just as well," she says. 

"We can offer that calm nature. The way things are now, how you communicate with people is how we get results. That's where women excel."

The celebrations commemorate the June 1941 intake of the first 10 female police officers. Their uniforms included hats, gloves and handbags and they were mainly restricted to office work.

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The landscape began to change in the 1960s. Women began training alongside men at the police college and in 1965, they achieved pay equality with their male counterparts.

As of 2016, about one in five New Zealand police officers are women.

A relay to celebrate their achievements will be held in July, with the torch coming through the Counties Manukau police district on July 6-9.

Fa'amausili says the future looks bright for policewomen. Her goal for the next five years is to become a supervisor and "strengthen" other women coming through the ranks.

"I want to give them hope that there are opportunities out there for us to be alongside the men."

 - Stuff

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