Prosecutor – Manukau
“Tēnā koutou katoa, Malō le soifua maua – My name is Justine and I’m a proud South Auckland Samoan working as a prosecutor in Manukau.
My passion is people. I became a police prosecutor because I wanted to work in a role and be part of an organisation where I could effect positive change and influence my community. It was important for me, as a traditionally raised Samoan and 3rd generation migrant to Aotearoa, to have a role that serves so many of my people so that they know they are supported and can feel safe knowing there are people who look like them in these roles.
What I enjoy most about being a police prosecutor are the incredible opportunities for development and growth as an officer of the court, as well as the potential in acquire invaluable interpersonal skills required to deal with diverse people and our many stakeholders, which are applicable in whatever career path one chooses to pursue.
Through the various courses available through the organization, I have advanced my advocacy skills and implement these skills daily by appearing in different courts. I have also gained the ability to adapt when faced with time restraints and other pressures associated with a busy district.
A highlight in my career as a prosecutor has been being part of the transformative change in the justice system by appearing in one of our specialist courts. I appear regularly in the Family Violence Court providing a voice to our voiceless victims in this court. I am also part of a working group discussing initiatives to enhance PPS processes in line with Police’s PRIMED values, specifically our commitment to Māori and Te Tiriti.”
Prosecutor – Auckland
“I left law school not really knowing what I wanted to do. I never though criminal law would be my career path, but I did have a passion for human rights law. I started working at the court, first as a Court Support Officer and then as a registrar. It was in my role as a registrar that I got to watch police prosecutors in action.
I had discussions with the local District Prosecution Manager, applied for and was successful in getting a job at the Police Prosecution Service. I never looked back!
I love the varied nature of this job; no two days are ever the same. Every day is a new challenge for me, and I thoroughly enjoy getting my head around the different aspects of this role. To be a good prosecutor it is important to be dispassionate, fair, reasonable, and measured in your approach to the law.
I have been a prosecutor for over three years and work predominantly in family violence. What drew me to family violence was the rehabilitative approach to justice. I like that my role is to act on behalf of our victims, but also to think about the family unit as a whole and what will work best for them. I also work across Te Kooti o Timatanga Hou (The Court of New Beginnings), which is set up to assist the homeless community in Auckland, and in the newly established Criminal Procedure (Mentally Impaired Persons) Act Court. Working in all of these therapeutic courts has really given me a new perspective on litigation and the criminal justice system.
My passion for human rights law has not diminished and in a way a lot of what I do covers human rights. I have also found that I really enjoy advocacy and appearing in court.
Because the work for PPS is so diverse, I have found that I have learned a lot in a short period of time. Every day I learn more and just when I think I’ve seen it all, something new pops up and those challenges are what I love the most about this role.”
Senior Prosecutor – Canterbury
“I was the first non-sworn police prosecutor appointed by New Zealand Police. It was 1997 and PPS was not in existence at that stage. Police prosecutors, at that time, were all police officers who had shown an interest in prosecuting or had been asked to perform the role. Generally, prosecutors had not had any legal training so it was thought that bringing some lawyers into the mix would be beneficial. The result we see today is that there is an excellent balance in PPS offices throughout the country between non-sworn lawyers and constabulary staff, many of whom have completed legal training.
I began my career as a defence lawyer but I felt more of an affinity with victims, and wanted to play a part in having their voices heard. Joining Police and working in prosecutions enabled me to do that on a daily basis. The court can be a confusing place for the general public and if I am able to help demystify that for witnesses and victims it can be hugely rewarding and assists greatly in achieving the sorts of outcomes we are after.
Prosecutors enjoy a variety of work; not all of it is in court as office-based preparation is an important part of the process. Personally, appearing in court is my favourite part of the job. As a part-time playwright I enjoy the theatre of the court. It can be a very dramatic, comical and entertaining place to work.”
Prosecutions Support Officer (PSO) – Auckland
“I chose a career in the New Zealand Police due to my military background in the Republic of Korea Marine Corps and my belief in social justice. After working at the public counter in both Manukau and Auckland City for around two-and-a-half years, I applied for a PSO position and joined Auckland PPS in January 2021.
PSOs provide efficient administrative support, which enables PPS to provide effective justice interventions and resolutions. PSOs must be detail-oriented to do this.
I enjoy completing my mahi to the best of my abilities to help prosecutors achieve victim-focussed outcomes in order to promote safety in our communities.”
Intern – Police National Headquarters
“I was drawn to PPS because I am deeply passionate about social justice and human rights, especially after observing the patterns of offending and the overrepresentation of minorities in the criminal justice system. I initially assumed that prosecutions would not be a relevant place to pursue any of these areas. However, through my time with PPS I have observed first-hand how the court system and prosecutions is at the direct intersection of human rights and social justice on both a local and national level. I decided to pursue prosecutions from a desire to better understand our criminal system and the opportunities for change that are present.
I am a legal intern for PPS and have completed both a regional summer internship in Wellington and now have a permanent role at Police National Headquarters. I have been an intern for almost two years while completing my degree and have stayed on beyond the summer internship because of the incredible experiences and work atmosphere. Because PPS is a mixture of constabulary staff and legal staff it has a wonderful culture of support and community which is not found in the normal hierarchy-based cultures of most law firms.
As a summer intern I have been able to gain experience of what working as a prosecutor is like as well as valuable legal skills. These skills range from submission writing and legal research to accompanying prosecutors to court. My experiences have shown me the importance of the prosecution role not as an adversarial necessity, but as advocation for the best outcome for all parties involved. The supportive and encouraging team at PPS demonstrate this and highlight the importance of social justice in the court system at every step.”
District Prosecution Manager (DPM) – Hutt Valley and Masterton
“Tēnā koutou katoa,
I first tried to join Police at 19-years-old, having worked in a bank in Dunedin. I was told to go and get some life experience and at 23 I was back in the recruiting Sergeant’s office with my application, which led to joining in 1987 in the 111 Recruit Wing, a large wing with few women. It has always occurred to me that diversity of thought and approach of different genders and cultures make outcomes richer and diverse. I have worked in Dunedin, Invercargill, and Christchurch and have been in Wellington for the past 6 years. Most of my career has been in the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) as a Detective, and later a Detective Sergeant, and I was never prouder when attaining my gold badge and becoming a Detective, I thoroughly appreciated working on many serious investigations and with team comradery.
A career highlight was during my time working in CIB training at the Police College when I was asked by the Commandant to take the lead to organise and facilitate a Women’s Recruitment Day. With a great team alongside me from Police’s Women’s Advisory Network, in December 2017 we hosted the inaugural Women’s Recruitment day to promote more women joining Police. I was very proud and humbled by the attendance of over 1200 women and it was a great day which was well supported by the Royal New Zealand Police College, District and Police National Headquarters staff.
I have been in my current role as District Prosecution Manager (DPM) for over 3 years and love this workgroup and the value we add to Police and to victims’ and defendants’ lives. Going to court as a prosecutor in Christchurch opened my eyes to the impact, benefit and important role a police prosecutor has in keeping victims and communities safe and holding offenders to account. As one of only three female DPMs in my region, Central and Lower North, I would like to see PPS become more diverse in the future, it is a great place to work. For our constabulary staff, PPS is a career pathway where the skills in reviewing prosecution files, prosecuting in court and working alongside other agencies really add value to other roles within Police. I have a great team of sergeants, lawyers and support officers in the Hutt Valley and Masterton and I am extremely proud of the work they do every day in and out of court representing Police.
I have been fortunate enough to be seconded to a special justice programme in a liaison role to provide police perspective on how the court process can be improved with less appearances for defendants and more timely case managed outcomes for victims. The courts and judiciary are in the process of transformational change, which is exciting for all those who work in the criminal justice sector as these changes will benefit all court users.”
DPM – Canterbury
“I joined NZ Police in 2001 and spent most of my time frontline policing in Public Safety teams, the Strategic Traffic Unit, the Police Support Unit and on Criminal Investigation Branch secondments In 2011 I was also involved in a brief deployment to the Solomon Islands. I was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2013 and spent time working as a Public Safety team and custody unit supervisor before being seconded into PPS for 12 months on a rotation in 2016.
I was promoted into the role of District Prosecution Manager for Canterbury in February 2019, however following the March 15 attack didn’t take up the position until May, remaining on to assist my staff who had been the primary responders on the day of the attack. I had thoroughly enjoyed my original secondment into PPS back in 2016, which firstly pushed me outside my comfort zone, but also provided me with skills and knowledge that were invaluable back on the frontline.
I was really impressed with the environment and opportunities that PPS offered as well as the work being done on a daily basis in the courts. Over the past 10 years the make up and culture of PPS offices around the country has changed, with the Canterbury office alone now comprising of more than 50% of its staff being non-sworn. I think the current mixture of staff in the office is really well balanced, with a good mix of policing experience that sworn staff bring, combined with the legal and court advocacy skills of the non-sworn staff.
I now work in an office surrounded by some extremely experienced and knowledgeable individuals, which at times can be daunting, however from time-to-time remind myself our role is the prosecutions manager, not the managing prosecutor. This role offers some big challenges working to the demands of the court, but at the same time there are some amazing opportunities that have been opened up including working closely alongside our counterparts at the Ministry of Justice, Corrections, Public Defence Services and The Law Society, as well as regular interactions with the local judiciary regarding current issues being faced and legislative changes.
For constabulary staff, PPS is a fantastic opportunity for anyone wanting to develop themselves, and particularly anyone looking to build on their skills and knowledge as a frontline supervisor. At the same time, and for staff coming from outside of the organisation, PPS is a career in itself for those that find their passion when they get here with a great team and many development opportunities.”