On June 3, 1941, 10 prospective police women began their training at the New Zealand Police Academy.
They were recruited through advertisements "for single and widowed ladies", were banned from driving police cars and had to resign if they wanted to marry.
Women now account for over 30 per cent of police staff.
A show of original uniforms in the Auckland Town Hall gives the public the opportunity to view the memorable 1960's mini-skirt and regulation handbags.
In June 1941, the first ten women entered a Police training depot in Newtown launching a new era in Policing. Women had been involved with Police work for many years prior to that in various roles, such as Matrons of stations and female searchers who were often just wives supporting their Policemen husbands in rural communities throughout New Zealand.
There was considerable opposition to women being formally appointed as Police Officers until Peter Fraser became Minister in Charge of Police. In 1938, after considerable research by the Police and undoubtedly encouraged by his wife Janet who was an active campaigner for policewomen to be appointed, the Minister Fraser announced:
"The only good work that, in my opinion Women Police could be employed on is in strictly enforcing the Infants Act and the Industrial Schools Act. At present it takes about two years careful training to make a man proficient in Police duties and about five years training with special ability before he is of any use as a detective.
The greatest difficulty we have in training these men is to teach them how to control their tongue, how long it would take to train women I do not know.
I cannot see how a woman could be usefully employed"
--- Memorandum written to Superintendent John O’Donovan 1916