Hawke's Bay's first Indian woman police officer hopes to inspire more women from diverse backgrounds to don the uniform.
Ramandeep Kaur Sandhu was born and raised in the northwestern Indian state of Punjab, before moving to Hawke's Bay in 2012.
After two years of studying through EIT's Services Pathway programme, Sandhu was formally welcomed to the New Zealand Police at a mihi whakatau at the Hastings Police Station two weeks ago.
The 28-year-old said her first few years in New Zealand were challenging, while acclimatising to new people, alongside a different culture and lifestyle.
After working various jobs in orchards, hospitality and customer service, Sandhu was on the hunt for a job to fulfil her.
"I have always been interested in the investigative side of police work, so joining the police seemed like an obvious career to pursue," she said.
The EIT graduate said the EIT programme was the ideal first step to achieving her dream of joining the police.
Following the course, Sandhu started a two-year constabulary recruitment process which includes a physical appraisal test, distance learning, entry to a candidate pool and a 16-week police college spell.
Sandhu speaks three languages - Punjabi, Hindi and English.
The constable said she hopes to be able to connect with, gain the trust of and help the growing Indian community in Hawke's Bay feel safe – and encourage them to follow in her footsteps.
"I would love to make a positive difference in every aspect of people's life wherever I can," she said. "And I want to be there for the wider community.
"I want to be the best possible version of myself, but also inspire more females from diverse backgrounds to join the police."
Eastern District Police commander superintendent Jeanette Park said the team was delighted to welcome the region's first Indian woman police officer.
"We welcome diversity within Police as we are aiming for a constabulary workforce diverse in ethnicity and gender that reflects our communities," she said.
"We have set ambitious recruitment targets nationwide to meet our desired workforce profile."
Park added: "And I am sure her ability to speak three languages will be extremely useful."
Sandhu said the Services Pathway programme and her tutor Andrew McCrory's guidance helped her with her application to join the police.
Park said a number of current staff members had completed the programme before joining the force.
"This is a valuable course for us to have available to people in the region," she said.
Sandhu added: "I want to make my family proud to see me in my blue uniform as no one in the history of my family has ever done something as big and splendid as getting into the New Zealand Police."