Marlborough's first policewoman Fleur Hansby talks pioneer policing video

ONE News

Women now make up 20 per cent of the police force, but there's still plenty of room for improvement.

The woman who first donned a police officer's uniform in Marlborough says the role women play in the police force has changed for the better.

New Zealand women will have been serving in the police force for 75 years on June 3, though there were no policewomen in Marlborough until 1985.

Rarangi woman Fleur Hansby was the first policewoman in Marlborough, when she joined the force in 1985.

Rarangi woman Fleur Hansby was the first policewoman in Marlborough, when she joined the force in 1985.

Rarangi woman Fleur Hansby​ joined the force in 1983, in an era where policewomen were not uncommon in the cities, but were a rarity in a small town.

Hansby worked as an officer for two years in Auckland before moving to Blenheim.

Women a growing force in police ranks
On the beat with policewomen

German police women get bullet-proof bras

Fleur Hansby and her classmates graduating from Porirua Police College in 1983.

Fleur Hansby and her classmates graduating from Porirua Police College in 1983.

"I'd just always been fascinated by the criminal mind, and it was a job I wanted to do ever since I was very young," Hansby said.

Nobody in Auckland minded that Hansby was a woman, so she was shocked at the response when she applied at the all-male Blenheim station.

Her husband, Nick, had been offered an ideal job in Blenheim with the Graham Veterinary Club, so Hansby visited an inspector at the Blenheim police station.

"Nobody wanted me," Hansby said.

Ad Feedback

"The inspector said, 'our priorities are policemen, police dogs, and then policewomen. Policewomen would be last'."

But Hansby would not take 'no' for an answer.

She contacted the Police National Headquarters in Wellington and successfully applied for a position in Blenheim.

"On my first day, the inspector said to me, 'Now, I expect you to be doing the same work as the policemen'. And I said, 'well, I wouldn't expect any different'."

Hansby had to prove her worth by performing better than the men, she said.

Her partner Chris Gladstone did not mind being paired with a woman. 

"I was really lucky. I had a guy who was the keenest in the station. We worked hard together, and it was good.

"He didn't care as long as you do your job and have his back. That's what was important."

However, there were some jobs which she got as the only woman, such as making inquiries after women had died, and reports of a sexual nature.

"I remember once there was a fight, and I was on my way there, and the sergeant of the section arrived at the same time, and told me to get back in the car. That really infuriated me," Hansby said.

People in her social circles did not question her career choice, but people she dealt with for work sometimes did.

"I'd ask a question and my partner would be standing beside me, and they'd answer the question to the male. In the pub one day, a guy came up to me and said it was a disgrace I was in the police."

Hansby said the small town mindset was tangible in both the way her superiors treated her and the way Marlburians reacted to her.

"[Working in Blenheim] was nothing like Auckland. It supported all the old values. It was silly," Hansby said.

Hansby and Nick had their first child a few years later, and she became a full-time mother.

But she missed the job, she said.

Hansby suspected policewomen in small towns like Blenheim were no longer treated differently, she said.

"It was just the old school of thought."

The Tasman District, which included Marlborough, had 50 policewomen making up 16 per cent of its force.

Nationally, women made up 32 per cent of sworn constabulary staff, up from 17 per cent in 2011.

The 75th Anniversary of Women in NZ Police will be celebrated by a torch relay across the country starting on June 24, a parade in Wellington on August 1, and an exhibition at the Police Museum in Porirua to open in September.

 - The Marlborough Express


Ad Feedback
special offers

Bottlenecks to avoid - if you can

An all too familiar sight for Aucklanders hoping to get away from it all.

There are 21 misery-inducing traffic pinch-points to watch out for this Labour Weekend.

Shopper nets $1m Lotto prize

Powerball wasn't struck, pushing the jackpot out to $16 million.

Auckland supermarket-goer wins $1 million as Powerball rolls over to $16m.

Start not confirmed

Murray Baker is adamant there is nothing wrong with Bonneval ahead of Saturday's Caulfield Cup.

Leading Kiwi chance in Caulfield Cup faces big test before she even gets to the barriers.

Smoking ban 'unfair targeting'

Places with outdoor footpath dining such as Ponsonby's SPQR restaurant would have to make sure their outdoor dining area ...

Around 800 Auckland restaurants with public al fresco areas expect to see a drop in business.


Welcome to Dannevirke ... or is it?

What's that bit: Random slices of your region

(Weekend) Today's piece of the photo puzzle is of artistic and archaic ...

Featherston isn't the only town without an official name. Turns out most of NZ is incognito.

Uni hall a 'feral zoo'

Images of alleged drunken destruction at the Victoria University Te Puni Village over the weekend have emerged.

Alleged drinking binge sees vomit and rubbish strewn across Wellington student hall.

Alcohol 'safe zone' in party central

The alcohol "safe zone" would have water, charging stations, bean bags and friendly assistance for Wellington party-goers.

Wellington party-goers who've had too much to drink will soon have a new refuge.

Snapped: 103kmh in a 50kmh zone

Porirua's busiest speed camera, on Whitford Brown Ave, caught a vehicle travelling at more than twice the posted speed limit.

Porirua's busiest speed camera catches one driver with a particularity heavy foot.


McCaw flies for kākāriki

Richie McCaw is backing conservation efforts for orange-fronted parakeet, also known as the kākāriki.

The former All Black captain was behind the controls of a freshly-painted helicopter used to raise awareness for a critically-threatened bird.

'Auntie Dai' paid out

Dai Bing was working as the manager of the Auntie Dai's Dumplings restaurant in the Christchurch Bus Interchange ...

Company ordered to repay woman whose name adorns a dumpling restaurant chain.

Man critically injured in fall

The Suter Art Gallery in Nelson, where an independent contractor fell on Tuesday, sustaining critical injuries.

Man fighting for his life after falling while carrying out work at Nelson's Suter Art Gallery.

Bottlenecks to avoid - if you can

An all too familiar sight for Aucklanders hoping to get away from it all.

There are 21 traffic pinch-points to watch out for around NZ this Labour Weekend.


Virtual cave tour

Ruakuri Cave will be the first cave system in New Zealand to be brought onto Google Maps.

Google goes underground, allowing you to explore one of NZs hidden gems from home.

CBD is hot property

Hamilton CBD, seen from teh east side of the Waikato River, is experiencing increased occupancy amid a stroing of new ...

Waiting for a tenant doesn't work any more, Hamilton commercial real estate leader says.

Toilet training in paradise

Raglan hopes to stop any unnecessary wastewater overflows by reminding people of what should and shouldn't go into the ...

Holiday destination plagued by sewage spills takes toilet etiquette to the street.

Casino robbery lead

A Hamilton casino punter was followed home and robbed by an armed attacker.

A Hamilton casino punter was followed home and robbed at knifepoint.


Ute dragged out of sea video

Dave Chadfield, of Chaddy's Charters, points to where a ute is submerged in the marina at Port Taranaki after two men ...

"I heard screaming, yelling and swearing and saw two guys walk ashore."

Womad NZ line-up unveiled

Tinariwen Elwan will play Womad NZ 2018

Almost 30 acts from across the globe have been revealed for next year's three-day music festival.

'The colony's dullest hole'

Len Lye Centre facade and White Hart hotel

Slagging off provincial small town New Zealand is fraught with danger.

Jury out in sex case

A jury of eight men and four women have begun deliberations at a sex trial in  the New Plymouth District Court. (File Photo)

A jury is considering verdicts in a case involving sex allegations which date back 10 years.


Full firefighting kit for 170km

Palmerston North firefighters are walking to Wellington in full kit to support efforts to tackle motor neuron disease.  ...

Palmerston North firefighters will walk to Wellington to raise money to combat motor neuron disease.

Late nights threatened

The Awapuni Function Centre is one of several licensed premises wanting changes to Palmerston North's draft local ...

City council's alcohol policy could force function centre to close early and put some bookings at risk.

Tararua woman still missing

Elizabeth Udy, 45, is missing and police have concerns for her safety.

Tararua woman Elizabeth Udy, 45, is still missing after one week.

A rural shemozzle

Libby Masefield having fun with bulls' balls in her mouth.

What started as a yarn at the pub has become a rural event attracting 5000 visitors a year. 


Milk dance creative, entertaining

The Creamery was part of the Nelson Art's Festival.

The Nelson Musical Theatre was transformed into a cheese factory for The Creamery - an interpretive show about the world of cheese.

Final drop begins

A small number of protesters show their disdain for the third poison drop at the Brook Sanctuary.

Final poison drop starts as part of the Brook Sanctuary operation.

Man critical after Suter Gallery fall

The Suter Art Gallery in Nelson, where an independent contractor fell on Tuesday, sustaining critical injuries.

A man is fighting for his life after falling while carrying out work at the Suter Art Gallery.

GP practice accredited

Collingwood Health is now Foundation Standard certified.

After failing to meet accreditation standards in the given timeframe, Collingwood Health has now achieved them


A rose for Red Cross

There are 2500 roses ready to sell at the fundraiser on Thursday.

Preparations are underway for Red Rose Day tomorrow.

Bridging the gap

Sounds Air chief executive Andrew Crawford says if the research stacks up 19-seater Beechcrafts could be flying between ...

Sounds Air could be flying 19-seaters between Christchurch and Blenheim by early next year.

Corporate rowing crews battle it out

30082017 News Photo: TOM LEE/STUFF - Sport - Rowing NZ team media day at Lake Karapiro. Mens eight

Corporate 8 crews optimistic at Wairau Rowing Club's annual challenge.

'Skylarking' caused fatal crash

Lara Glover, 16, died and four others were injured in the car crash on February 19.

Teen driver caused fatal crash by swerving his parents' SUV from side to side while doing close to 100kmh.

South Canterbury

Jet boat marathon hits Waitaki video

18102017 News JOHN BISSET/STUFF.  World jet boat marathon on Waitaki River contact Paul Mullan 027284 9194. Pictured are ...

The sound of jet boat engines echoed along the  'difficult' Waitaki River yesterday.

No word on SH1 call

Mid-South Canterbury area commander Inspector Dave Gaskin

Pareora residents renew calls for lower speed limit after three-car crash in September.

Teacher censured over kayak trip

Physical education teacher Stuart Albrey has taught at Waimate High School since 1986.

A Waimate High School teacher has been censured for serious misconduct

Call to check wells

Canterbury medical officer of health Dr Alistair Humphrey told RNZ Tuesday there had been anecdotal accounts from ...

Households urged to monitor their private water supplies regularly - particularly those with pregnant mothers, or young babies.


A man without Viices

McComb said he would love to perform at Homegrown or the Reading Festival in the UK at some point.

Viices, aka Jake McComb, "only really made enough to pay for parking" the first time he busked.

Qtown businesses losses continue

Businesses are making insurance claims for interruptions caused by a burst water main.

Businesses are making insurance claims for ongoing interruptions caused by a burst water main in central Queenstown.

Ministry backs down on buses

A Queenstown school bus.

Students living in Sunshine Bay, Frankton, Jack's Point and Kelvin Heights will have to find their own way to school.

Cromwell basin business booms

At least 35 businesses supported the 11ha extension of Akarua's Pisa Development Vineyard near Cromwell.

Akarua Vineyard organises impromptu fair to celebrate viticulture investment.


The Lim hymn: Let's Eat

Celebrity chef Nadia Lim shares her latest book, Let's Eat, with Julie Allan, Sarah Johnson and Gabrielle Berger Sidwell ...

Despite releasing seven cookbooks in seven years, inspiration is never far away for celebrity chef Nadia Lim.

Bravery awards given

Nightcaps men Conrad Waihape, left, and Phil Manson were presented with Bravery awards at a Southland District Council ...

"It was pretty dark and bloody hard to see..."

Let's talk, Southland: Kirwan

Sir John Kirwan visited Northern Southland College, Lumsden, on Tuesday afternoon.

Mental health speeches "powerful, timely, relevant".

Aparima College to get new principal, board of trustees

Aparima College commissioner Nicola Hornsey.

Embattled Aparima College in Riverton is set to have elections to form a board of trustees after its new principal is recruited.

Ad Feedback