Mandeep, Senior Sergeant, Liaison Māori, Pacific and Ethnic Services at PNHQ
I was born in the State of Punjab in India. My dream of joining Police first emerged when my late mother used to say, “if you were a boy you could have joined the police”. However, it remained a dream and I got married in 1986 before I turned 18. I have two beautiful children from that marriage.
At the age of 24, I became a single mother to my daughter, Parneet Kaur, who was 4 years old, and son, Amardeep Singh, who was 2 years old at that time. I completed my Bachelor of Arts with sociology and political science after giving birth to Parneet.
Along with joining the police, my other dream was to study at post-graduate level, which became challenging for me as a single mother.
I left India in 1996 for a better life for myself and my children. However, due to a custody battle I had to leave both of my children with my parents and travelled to Australia as a student.
In 1999, I moved to New Zealand and did odd jobs which included taxi driving, working as a forecourt attendant and working as an administrator at a training institute. In 2002, my childhood dream reignited to pursue my prospects of joining Police, as the cultural constraints of being a male were not the same as I faced as a child in Punjab.
I had to overcome several mental and physical challenges to join Police, but the biggest challenge was mentally preparing to wear a swimming costume in public to be able to learn to swim.
In 2004, I joined New Zealand Police and became the first Indian-born female police officer in New Zealand.
Since joining New Zealand Police, I have policed in Tāmaki Makaurau and rural policing in Pahiatua. Much of my career has been spent in family harm and community policing. In 2012, I accomplished my other dream of studying at post-graduate level and completed a post-graduate diploma in business administration from Waikato university.
In March 2019, Penguin Random House published a book called Women Kind, which profiled 52 New Zealand women. I was profiled as one of those 52 women. These women have set out to make a difference in the world internationally and in their local communities.
I have represented the Police nationally, internationally, in radio, television and written media but most importantly, within the communities that I have strived to serve throughout my 17 years as a police officer.
I founded the well-renown police Bhangra group to encourage cultural connectivity and fitness, and I’m also a proud grandmother to my beautiful grandchildren, Oliver and Veera.