New police officer Constable Kennedy Wilson has joined the police because she wants to be just like her best mate - her father Detective Senior Sergeant John Wilson.

The 20-year-old has just graduated from Police College and will be stationed to the frontline in Rotorua.

She's following in the footsteps of her famous-in-police-terms father John, who is a decorated police officer of three decades.

John is currently relieving in the Taupō district as the area manager for investigations while doing his usual role as Bay of Plenty crime services co-ordinator in charge of organised crime.

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Kennedy, a former Western Heights High School student, is a right chip off the old block. When the tight-knit duo isn't chewing the fat about family and policing, they're off hunting and fishing.

"He was the main motivator. We do everything together. We are best mates. Dad is the man."

A proud moment. Photo / File
A proud moment. Photo / File

Kennedy said she grew up watching her father move up through the ranks in police, including his role leading the Rotorua Police Search and Rescue Squad for 16 years.

Her mother, Sonia Wilson, is also another strong role model as the Oranga Tamariki (Ministry for Children) youth justice manager for Rotorua, Tokoroa and Taupō. She's also a Justice of the Peace and is Victim Support's longest-serving New Zealand volunteer having given up her time for 30 years and counting.

"She looks like her mother but when she opens her mouth, she sounds like her father," the straight-talking John said.

Kennedy said most weekends her parents weren't home because they were busy either looking for lost hunters or helping victims of crime.

"For me policing is normalised and is a normal thing to do. I saw all the people my mum and dad were helping and realised it was pretty cool."

She said it was her father's line of work that particularly stuck and she knew from a young age that's what she wanted to do.

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Detective Senior Sergeant John Wilson helps Constable Kennedy Wilson with her uniform. Photo / File
Detective Senior Sergeant John Wilson helps Constable Kennedy Wilson with her uniform. Photo / File

"I can remember thinking at such a young age that I was so proud and that one day I wanted to have a positive impact like that."

In the lead-up to going to Police College, she was an Investigation Support Officer for the Rotorua Police Child Protection Team and has been a Search and Rescue volunteer since 2014.

"If there is any advice I could give to someone thinking about joining I'd say if you believe it's what you want to do and you have the passion and the drive then just do it.

"For me, I was concerned about my age - I am the youngest on my wing - but don't let it deter you.

"My age has not once been an issue, in fact it's something that has been embraced and appreciated."

She said the New Zealand Police was a different organisation than when her father joined and as a young, gay, Māori woman she hoped she could help diversify the organisation even more.

"The police is an organisation that is diversifying and what makes you an individual is embraced and respected."

It took her 15 months for her recruitment process to be finished, then another four months at Police College but she said the whole process was worth it.

Constable Kennedy Wilson gives Police Commissioner Mike Bush a good firm handshake. Photo / Supplied
Constable Kennedy Wilson gives Police Commissioner Mike Bush a good firm handshake. Photo / Supplied

Despite being the youngest in her wing, she finished top in her class and fourth overall in the wing.

Ironically it was her firearms test that bumped her off the top of her wing. She's used to firing a rifle with her father out hunting, apparently a completely different skill to firing a police Glock.

However, John said he couldn't be more chuffed with his daughter.

"I'm immensely proud. She's yet to prove her worth in police but she's been to college and has the basics. She continually amazes me with the skills she has already, particularly academically and her people skills and being able to talk to anyone."

Kennedy's career choice was also motivated by tragedy. Her step-sister, Whittney Robertson, was killed by a drunk driver at age 23 near Atiamuri in May 2009.

Kennedy said she wasn't like other high school students, partying and drinking, and her sister's death encouraged her down a path of getting fit and leading a different life.

Meanwhile, as Kennedy starts her career, she isn't interested in riding her father's coat-tails and hopes to make her own mark.

"Everyone knows I'm John Wilson's daughter but it doesn't matter. He's working in CIB and I'm frontline ... and by the time I get to CIB, he's got to retire so I can take his job anyway," she laughs.

Constable Kennedy Wilson and her father Detective Senior Sergeant John Wilson. Photo / Supplied
Constable Kennedy Wilson and her father Detective Senior Sergeant John Wilson. Photo / Supplied