LAVINIA Mahit has created her own piece of history by becoming the first Ni Vanuatu woman to join the New Zealand police force.

Although she was born in New Zealand, Lavinia describes herself as coming from the islands of Paama (Mahit family) and Ambae (Kanegai family).

I was born in NZ and while growing up, I was always told by my parents that they would send me back to NZ for further studies,’’ she told The Independent Online news.

“They did so in 2004 when I moved over and enrolled into Sir Douglas Bader Intermediate school in Mangere, Auckland.

“I continued on to Otahuhu College (also in Auckland) and finished my tertiary studies at the University of Waikato in Hamilton.

“After graduating with my Masters in Social Sciences majoring in Anthropology, I was applying for jobs around and saw an article in the NZ Herald about Auckland needing more Pacific Island women in the NZ Police, so I registered and applied.

“I did not see myself at a job behind the desk and so this was a fitting job where I can be out and about, helping out our communities and serving others.

‘’So far the practical side of this job has been my highlight.’’

Lavinia said the training involved a lot of physical and theoretical tests and assessments along the way throughout the recruitment process.

She said the 16-week course was at the Royal New Zealand Police College in Wellington – the capital city.

“It was challenging and worth it, with ups and downs at college,’’ she said.

“Overall it was a great experience indeed, where a lot of growth happened both individually and collectively with my wing mates and my section.

“It was difficult to begin with as I had to crunch down on my fitness, as I aimed to complete the fitness test run which was 2.4km (6 laps) under 11mins 40seconds for girls my age range.

“Obviously the older you are the longer your time. Apart from the run, the 20 wide push-ups and grip test and vertical jump were a breeze for me. Consistency was the key for me, I had to keep training and I even had to push myself to have 2.4km road runs twice a day to achieve this.

I started in February this year and graduated at the end of May with Wing 314.’’

Lavinia said she started out in a section at her local Otahuhu Station with the Public Safety Team, joining frontline as a General Duties Constable.

I have not thought about my future goals in this career much because I never planned to join the Police in the first place,’’ she said.

“Otherwise, thinking about this now, I hope I can bring some aspects of policing within an organization and what I learn here in NZ Police to transfer or help with projects and partnership via secondments with Vanuatu Police sometime in the future.’’