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Photo: NZ Police

Aotearoa turned on its magic as it hosted the 2023 International Women in Policing Conference – for the first time.

More than 800 law enforcement staff from 70 countries began the five-day event – gifted the name Te Huinga Māreikura (Gathering of Great Women) by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei – with a pōwhiri at Auckland’s Ōrākei Marae (pictured above). Other highlights included a Parade of Nations along the viaduct, two international awards evenings and experiencing New Zealand’s food and culture.

The theme of this year’s combined Australasian Council of Women and Policing and International Association of Women Police event was “refresh, refocus and renew”.

Participants were able to listen to more than 50 speakers on aspects of leadership, development, wellbeing, diversity and operational matters.

Excellence rewarded

Two Kiwis were among the award winners at the International Women in Policing Conference in Auckland.


Retired Detective Sergeant Dorothy McPhail received the 2023 International Association of Women Police (IAWP) Heritage Award in recognition of her substantial and significant contribution to the organisation and women in police.

Dorothy served 35 years with NZ Police in Canterbury before retiring in 2020. During her career, she attended 17 IAWP conferences and has held several governance positions with the organisation.

“Dorothy has lived her career and her personal life strengthening, uniting and raising the capacity of women in policing internationally,” the IAWP said.

On receiving the award, Dorothy said she had gained much motivation and inspiration through IAWP and that “while I might not have risen to dizzy heights within the New Zealand Police, I still endeavoured to make a difference for women in police”.

On a lighter note, she said that when asked when there was going to be a men’s conference, “my response was, they take place in the cafeteria every day”. Her advice to all those in police is: “You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide overthinking it. You have to come down the chute.”


Wellington’s Constable Hannah Drake received the 2023 Australasian Council of Women and Policing Integrity and Courage Award, acknowledging her moral courage and commitment to challenge the status quo and break biases.

Hannah’s nomination said she has been a voice for those who suffer in silence, speaking out and exposing the barriers that inhibit equity and equality. “Hannah has bravely shared her vulnerability to challenge assumptions and encourage new ways of doing things.”

Other members of NZ Police nominated for ACWAP awards were: Aminata Hamadi, Olivia Perry, Julia Smith, Victoria Crichton, Anna Grant, Anna Henson, Lee Underhill, Lyle Norriss, Renee Perkins, Joanne Sanders, Theresa William, Elizabeth Binks, Jennifer Blackwood, Wikitoria Pou and Corrie Parnell.

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