Thursday, 6 October 2022 - 10:58am

'A gathering of great women'

3 min read

News article photos (1 items)

Inspector Wendy Spiller

Inspector Wendy Spiller likes challenge, variety, making a difference and seizing an opportunity.

Having just about every role under her New Zealand Police belt over 35 years - most recently spending eight years as an Area Commander - she is excited to be the Director of the International Women in Policing Conference 2023.

With COVID-19 restrictions being relaxed and people able to gather in large numbers again, the theme will be Refresh, Renew and Refocus.

Wendy is delighted to have been recommended for the event management job by her District Commander, Superintendent Jill Rogers.

“For me personally, this is an amazingly positive role where we’re able to showcase new Zealand’s Police and women on an international scale.

“For a population of just five million people, we punch well above our weight in many areas, including diversity, sport, and innovation. We were the first country to give women the vote.”

Wendy will be drawing upon her wide knowledge of policing. In 2000, she was part of the special operations planning team when New Zealand hosted both an APEC summit and the America’s Cup.

Wendy says New Zealand is unique and has lots to offer.

“We can’t compete by offering massive venues, but we can compete by using our culture, hospitality, ethos, and authenticity. That’s what makes us different.”

Planning is under way to put on quite a show for visitors.

“Working with our established partner Ngāti Whātua, we will be having a spectacular pōwhiri," says Wendy. “We have also co-designed an event logo (right), which has a koru.”IWPC logo

Instead of translating into Māori the English words assigned to the conference themes, Ngāti Whātua has gifted ‘Te Huinga Māreikura’ – which means ‘gathering of great women’.

“We at New Zealand Police feel very privileged that Ngāti Whātua have provided us with such a gift."

Executive members of New Zealand Police are being lined up to attend the event, which promises to provide attendees with a good feed.

“We can’t invite people from around the world and serve them sausage rolls," says Wendy. "We’ll be catering properly.”

The International Association of Women Police was established in the United States in 1915 to promote women going into Police, and supporting them in that space.

New Zealand was chosen to host the event following a successful bid led by Detective Inspector Annie Ryan and retired Detective Sergeant Dorothy McPhail.

“This is a golden opportunity to celebrate women from diverse backgrounds, countries and life experiences,” says Wendy.

“It’s a time to promote women and law enforcement and Police, in terms of providing training, support and learnings.

“It’s not just about police stories, it’s about wellness and opportunities for people, and they can take those stories back to their countries, workgroups and families.”

As part of the conference, everyday Aucklanders will experience the visual splendour of flag bearers and officers in their finest uniforms in a Parade of Nations, with more than 60 jurisdictions being represented.

As well as workshops and inspirational speakers, there’ll be opportunities for networking in a safe and supportive environment where ideas can be shared.

The conference will include a New Zealand night and a special lunch to mark 130 years since suffragettes won the vote in New Zealand.

And stay tuned for information about a ‘Chicago night’, which signals the location of the next IWPC.