Three Northland police officers have been rewarded for their outstanding work in their communities and will now be jet-setting across the globe thanks to fellowships awarded to police for the first time.

Senior Constable Atawhai Henare, of Whangarei, Senior Constable Rowena Jones, of Kaitaia, and Inspector Chris McLellan, based in Kerikeri, have been recognised for their sustained excellence and dedication to New Zealand Police and communities.

It also recognises the invaluable support of partners and families that enables police staff to give their best to the job.

The Northlanders are among 11 officers and four non-sworn staff from around the country to receive the fellowships worth between $23,000 and $28,000 from the Sir Woolf Fisher Trust.


Each fellowship has funding for international travel for up to eight weeks and for a partner to make the trip. They include time to holiday and to undertake an agreed programme of study.

The awards came as a total shock for the recipients, who did not know they had been nominated until they received a congratulatory email and a follow-up phone call from the Police Commissioner's office.

Ms Jones said to be nominated by her colleagues was very humbling.

Senior Constable Rowena Jones hopes to bring back ideas from overseas and help her local Kaitaia community. Photo / Supplied
Senior Constable Rowena Jones hopes to bring back ideas from overseas and help her local Kaitaia community. Photo / Supplied

"This is an awesome opportunity and to be nominated by your peers is very humbling.

''There are heaps of police officers out there doing amazing work in their communities who aren't being recognised."

Of her 21 years with police, 19 and a half have been based in Kaitaia.

"My entire focus is about making Kaitaia a bigger and better place for future generations and the way to make that happen is by working with the community and taking their lead.

"This puts Kaitaia on a bigger stage ... there is a lot of heart here and it's not all gloom and doom. There are good things going on and people with their hearts in the right place."

Ms Jones will travel to Sweden's capital, Stockholm, to look at processes used at the International Safe Communities Certification centre to get a global perspective on safety issues facing international communities.

Switzerland is also on the agenda with a visit to Geneva to work alongside delegates from the World Health Organisation at the United Nations.

Father of two Senior Constable Atawhai Henare was also humbled by his nomination. He has spent all of his 15 years policing in Whangarei.

He hopes to visit a free gym run by police staff in New York City that helps disadvantaged youth along with a programme run in San Francisco that has helped 172 youth from tough backgrounds to go on to higher education including Harvard University.

As a Youth Aid Officer Mr Henare recognised the positive outcomes of sports and fitness and established a crossfit group that now includes 20 young people who come from challenging whanau environments. He runs the fitness classes in his own time.

Inspector Chris McLellan has his sights set on working with the United Nations at one of their international posts working to prevent conflict and in a peacekeeping role.

Northland Woolf Fisher recipient Inspector Chris McLellan. Photo / Supplied
Northland Woolf Fisher recipient Inspector Chris McLellan. Photo / Supplied

He is a qualified police negotiator and has been in control of units based in both Northland and Southland and since qualifying in 2006 has become a mentor on the national course.

Mr McLellan is heavily involved in the Bald Angels Charitable Trust and has worked on projects to deliver food and present parcels to children and families affected by family harm before Christmas.