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26 Feb 2018 14:19
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  •   Home > News > Law and Order

    First Maori policewoman remembered

    New Zealand's first Maori policewoman has died aged 96, with her service remembered at a tangi in Northland.

    New Zealand's first Maori policewoman has been honoured at a tangi in Northland after she died aged 96.

    Evelyn Kingi, nee Owen, from Moerewa in Northland joined New Zealand Police in 1943 as part of just the third group of women allowed into the force.

    She trained in Wellington, before serving there and in Auckland.

    In one of her missions Ms Kingi joined a team of female officers who helped "collar" an Australian visitor making "filthy" phone calls.

    On Sunday, her contribution to police was remembered at a tangi held in Poroti, near Whangarei, after she died last week, according to the police Ten One magazine.

    Assistant Commissioner Wally Haumaha says her pioneering service opened police's door to people from different backgrounds,

    "We can only imagine how difficult it would have been for her, not only as a woman in a male-dominated organisation, but also as a Maori at a time when many people did not self-identify as Maori," he said.

    "She would have had to battle every barrier to come through and maintain respect."

    Ms Kingi spent three years in the job before marrying "without permission" - a violation of police restrictions around marriage in the 1940s - that led to her resignation.

    However, Ms Kingi maintained her association with police as an enthusiastic attendee at reunions for the 1943 intake of women officers.

    Marie Storey, who trained with Ms Kingi and last saw her at the 1997 funeral of a fellow "third-intaker", described her as a "very loyal person".

    "She wasn't in police very long but I appreciated the fact that she always kept in touch with the rest of us," she said.

    Northland district commander Superintendent Russell Le Prou and Far North area commander Inspector Riki Whiu were among those to speak at Ms Kingi's tangi.

    Supt Int Le Prou said police's presence at Ms Kingi's tangi, confirmed to her "mokopuna that their nana did something really great".


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