As the sun rises over Cape Reinga a bagpiper will sound the start of a torch relay celebrating 75 years of women in the New Zealand police force.

And as the relay starts in the north tomorrow the second half of the relay baton will simultaneously begin its journey from the Bluff. The two pieces of the illuminated torch will be joined together at a national parade of retired and current policewomen and other police staff in Wellington on August 1.

The design of the torch travelling has been based on the New Zealand Police whakatauki: "Stand at the stern of the canoe and feel the spray of the future biting at your face."

If the weather plays ball the baton might be transported in a waka from Waitangi to Russell on Saturday as part of the hikoi in Northland. After lunch in Russell the crews would paddle back to Waitangi where a game of Ki o Rahi between police and the community was scheduled for about 2pm.


Senior Sergeant Anne Marie Fitchett said many of the region's current 68 female police staff would take part in the relay.

At the dawn service at Cape Reinga Northland's first policewoman 88-year-old Myra Lacombe will read "A Policewoman's Prayer" which will be followed by a minute's silence to remember passed colleagues.

Ms Fitchett said members of the public were welcome to join officers on a walk around Whangarei's Loop starting at 9am on Sunday.