New years honours: Wendy Robilliard

By Kristin Edge

Working with the families and victims of some of New Zealand's major tragedies has been a humbling experience for Inspector Wendy Robilliard, who has become a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the New Zealand police and the community.

Ms Robilliard was the manager of Victim Services at police headquarters from 2008 until earlier this year. She was appointed area commander of the Mid/Far North police in June 2012, based in Kerikeri.

Back-to-back tragedies from Pike River, to the Christchurch earthquakes and the Wairarapa ballooning disaster saw the mother of two teenagers become the liaison person between police and the victims and their families.

"In my 25 years of policing this has been the most humbling and rewarding work I have done because I see it as a privilege to have worked for these families.

"It was gutwrenching because you could relate to these families and realise it could have been one of your family members." The news of her gong came as shock.

"I was blown away because you do these things not for recognition but because you want to do it."

She said without the support of her family and friends she would not have been able to leave her two teenage children to help others in need.

At police HQ, she was instrumental in the development of procedures and systems for police victim responses following mass casualty events.

After the Pike River Coal mining disaster in 2010, she managed a network of liaison officers to support affected families. The systems of liaison officers and daily briefings were applied to the police response to the Christchurch earthquake in February 2011.

She also introduced a system to notify families as victims were identified. She applied similar response systems following the Wairarapa ballooning accident last January.

- Northern Advocate

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