Bay woman among record recruit numbers
A Matata volunteer firefighter is one of 42 female recruits who are being recognised today as part of International Women’s Day.
Kiahli Ibbetson, 19, is part of the second lot of recruits in Wing 315, which has a total of 80 new recruits, the largest number of female recruits ever in a single wing.
The wing begins at the Royal New Zealand Police College on Monday.
Fittingly, Dame Jenny Shipley is the Wing Patron and she will be supporting recruits through their training. Dame Jenny was the first female Prime Minister of New Zealand.
Kiahli feels honoured to have the opportunity to learn from Dame Shipley.
“She has been instrumental in encouraging women into areas traditionally held by men.
“I will certainly be encouraged to perform to the best of my ability – I don’t want to fail in front of a former Prime Minister.”
Kiahli is excited and nervous about starting at the college. She has wanted to join New Zealand police for a long time, and started the process when she was just 17.
As a volunteer Fire Fighter in Matata, she has worked closely with police in her community and seen first-hand what a rewarding and challenging job it is.
She says joining the Matata Volunteer Fire Service, which is also a first responder brigade, has been one of the most worthwhile experiences of her life.
“Joining police and getting paid to do this valuable work in the community was an obvious choice.
“I know being a police officer won’t always be the easiest of jobs, but I know I’ll feel a sense of satisfaction at the end of the day knowing that I’ve helped keep my community safe,” she says.
New Zealand police has set an ambitious target of having 50 per cent female recruits by 2021.
In December 2017 NZ police held its first Women’s Recruitment Day.
“Wing 315, which is over 50 per cent female, demonstrates we are making significant progress towards achieving this target,” says Deputy Chief Executive: People, Kaye Ryan.
“Police are looking to recruit people who are compassionate and empathetic, and who want to make a positive difference in their community.
“Gender and ethnic diversity are an important priority for NZ police, and we are committed to improving our numbers of women so we can better represent the communities we serve.”