A former Hawke's Bay police officer who left the force to eventually graduate in law and become a barrister has been confirmed as the Hastings-based district coroner replacing late coroner Chris Devonport.
Tracey Fitzgibbon was appointed in May as an acting coroner to pick-up some of the coronial inquiries workload, previous coroner Devonport having died in January.
The permanent appointment took effect on Friday.
Fitzgibbon was serving in Flaxmere when workmate and fellow constable Glenn McKibbin was killed in a random shooting by a passerby during a mid Sunday-morning vehicle-stop in residential street in the suburb in 2006.
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She left the job to become a fulltime parent, had some time in her own private investigations enterprise and eventually decided to go to law school, from which she graduated six years ago.
She is one of nine 17 coroners based in nine regional coroner offices throughout New Zealand, with others in Whangārei, Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, with Chief Coroner Judge Deborah Marshall also based in Wellington.
Coroners lead inquiries into all homicides, suicides and accidental deaths such as road fatalities and and death in workplace incidents, although invesigations are generally undertaken by police and other agency investigators. They can also investigate other deaths where cause may be in doubt, and generally have a role to make recommendations which might prevent similar incidents.