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Issue No. 411 March 2017

Prepared for anything

Inspector Tracey Thompson didn’t expect to be an Area Commander – but now she is looking forward the opportunities and challenges which will face her and her team at Kapiti Mana.

“You need to be prepared for anything in this job,” she says.

Inspector Tracey Thompson and her supporters arrive at Takapuwahia Marae for her powhiri.
Photo: Penny Clevely, Police Public Affairs

Tracey was formally welcomed to the community with a powhiri at Ngati Toa’s Takapuwahia Marae in Porirua late last month (Feb).

After a spell below the radar – settling into her office at Porirua and getting to know staff - the powhiri signalled the start of the serious business of building community relationships.

But relationship-building has been a hallmark of Tracey’s career to date.

She joined Police in 1995 with Wing 155 and was first posted to her hometown Rotorua, later transferring to Nelson where she was promoted to Sergeant Youth and Families.

She moved to Wellington in 2009 and held a range of youth and diversity-related roles at PNHQ and the RNZPC. She became Wellington District Maori Responsiveness Manager in 2015.

Tracey spent four months acting as Wairarapa Area Commander and around seven seconded to the Hutt Valley, which included relieving as commander. She is grateful to former Wellington District Commander Sam Hoyle for his encouragement.

“Being an Area Commander was never in my plan but that gave me a real insight into the role and the need to build relationships with your staff and your community.

“I enjoyed engaging with the staff and it gave me confidence in myself and my ability to do the job. It meant I knew what to expect and wouldn’t feel out of my depth.

“It also brought me much closer to the front line and helped me appreciate the work they do and the challenges they face.”

Tracey is no stranger to the Kapiti Mana Area, which stretches from suburban Tawa through Porirua, with its vibrant ethnic mix including resettled refugees, up to Waikanae and the leafier streets of the Kapiti Coast in the north.

“It’s hugely diverse,” she says. “Porirua itself is growing and changing all the time. It’s also my home – I live here, the children go to school here. Working here is quite close to my heart.”

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