Inside NZ Police’s Wāhine Māori Recruitment Campaign

This year has seen no shortage of great strides made by Global Women Partners, NZ Police. They’ve officially hit the mark of having women make up 25% of their workforce. Now, they’re building on this momentum and supercharging their intersectional outlook through, Puhikura, a new recruitment campaign designed to bring wāhine Māori on board

As the first of it’s kind in local Police recruitment, we joined in kōrero with Deputy Commissioner Tania Kura to hear more about what this campaign means for the force and Aotearoa as a whole. 

It’s more than just about promoting the workforce. As Deputy Commissioner Kura shares with Global Women, it’s “taking an honest look at barriers” and engaging in meaningful dialogue as a starting point. Additionally, Puhikura drive isn’t just about creating a diverse force; it digs deeper into notions of servant leadership, draws on te ao Māori and looks at the power of having diverse responses to serve the community with.

What are you most proud of with this campaign?

Wāhine Māori are the most underrepresented in our workforce and we needed to do something different in order to attract them to join us. In the Puhikura recruitment campaign we’ve utilised a Te Ao Māori storytelling approach, capturing candid stories of five wahine, exploring both their barriers as well as their aspirations for becoming a Māori Police Officer. 

It is an honest and gritty look at some of the issues and challenges Māori have, both historical and current in joining us. Off the back of the launch, we are holding community events throughout the country to encourage wāhine Māori to come and watch the documentary and have a korero with us about their own circumstances or issues.

I am proud of the way this campaign is taking an honest look at barriers particularly for wāhine Māori in joining Police, and the only way is to kōrero and continue to move forward and make changes to the way we do things. We know there are both historical and current reasons that wāhine Māori don’t join, and we need to work towards breaking down these barriers.

“I am proud of the way this campaign is taking an honest look at barriers particularly for wāhine Māori in joining Police, and the only way is to kōrero and continue to move forward and make changes to the way we do things.”

What are your aspirations for the wāhine Māori in Police in the future?

We are absolutely committed to delivering the best possible policing service for New Zealanders, and our priority has been to both grow the constabulary numbers as we as increase the diversity of our organisation. For us to Police effectively, everyone in New Zealand needs to trust that policing is fair and equitable for all. That trust helps to keep people and ourselves safe, and to reduce the crime and harm communities experience.

“For us to Police effectively, everyone in New Zealand needs to trust that policing is fair and equitable for all.”

What does success in this campaign look like to you?

We have told the stories of five quite different wahine, with different backgrounds, and different motivations and barriers. We hope that these stories will resonate with different wahine Māori across the motu. We want Māori as well as all other ethnicities to understand why it’s so important to have Māori fully represented in our organisation.

Having more Māori, and particularly wāhine Māori in Police will make a significant difference to our work with Māori in the community, and help us achieve our aim of truly fair and equitable policing. While we don’t expect it to happen overnight, we hope to increase the number of wahine Māori who join us to achieve proportional representation of 8.6% in our workforce.

 Our Māori partners see a tangible commitment to building relationships with Māori, and recruitment is at the core of changing some of the narrative internally as well as working towards ensuring better outcomes for Maori.

“Our Māori partners see a tangible commitment to building relationships with Māori, and recruitment is at the core of changing some of the narrative internally.”

Over the longer term, it’s about changing the understanding.

We hope to break down some of the barriers for Māori, both historical and current, by encouraging korero with our staff. We need to keep working on ensuring our recruitment process is fair and equitable and judges individuals on their own merits. We are also actively learning from this campaign as wahine Māori are encouraged to talk to us about their concerns and aspirations for becoming a Police Officer.

Māori, along with other ethnicities have experience across their wider whanau of family harm, substance abuse and gangs. That often drives their desire to help people in positive ways and use what they’ve learned to help others avoid or emerge from crime and trauma.

Having more Māori, and particularly wahine Māori in Police will make a significant difference to our work with Māori in the community, and help us achieve our aim of fair and equitable policing.

“Having more Māori, and particularly wahine Māori in Police will make a significant difference to our work with Māori in the community.”

To hear more about Puhikura and what it means for the future of the Police force, read the full article over on Stuff.co.nz here.