The 75-year contribution of women to the New Zealand Police has been recognised in Rotorua, with the first policewoman from the city as guest of honour.

To celebrate the milestone a police staff torch relay is being run through New Zealand and it travelled through Rotorua today, at locations including the Skyline gondola and luge and the Redwoods.

During the ceremony, Rotorua Sergeant Pauline Jones said it had been a pleasure to get everyone together for the day.

"It's been our pleasure to come together today, we have had a baton run and it's Rotorua's day today.


"It started at the top of the North Island and the bottom of the South Island and it will meet up in Wellington for a parade on the first of August."

The guest of honour at the ceremony was Marjorie Smith, who was the first policewoman out of Rotorua back in 1956.

Mrs Smith said when she started, the police station was where Pig and Whistle was now.

She said she wanted to join the police because her father had wanted to be a constable but was turned away because of ingrown toe nails.

"I'm the oldest of five girls and I was born in Rotorua and he wanted me to follow something worthy and I wanted something that was going to be challenging."

Mrs Smith offered a few words of wisdom to current police staff.

"I would like to say, be proud of yourself and the uniform you're representing. Be dedicated in your choice of career. Be honest, trustworthy and be yourself," she said.

Mrs Jones later told the crowd that Mrs Smith eventually had to leave the service because she got married and married women were not allowed in the police force at that time.

Bay of Plenty District Commander Superintendent Andy McGregor said it was the police's job to prevent crime and keep the community safe.

"Everyone has a part to play and I look at the roles right across New Zealand police and the response and the prevention and the investigations and I look at the specific roles and I look at our women in the AOS and search and rescue ... great achievements.

"Any successful organisation in the world, what sets them apart is that they have got women and they make a difference," Mr McGregor said.

Rotorua celebrates 75 years of women in police

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said it was a thrill to be invited to the torch ceremony.

Speaking to the policewomen present, Mrs Chadwick said: "I see you all at different levels and I admire and respect you. It shows our children that there is a career path out there that is so diverse now."

Rotorua Area Commander Inspector Bruce Horne said the day was fantastic.

He said about one third of the Rotorua police staff was made up of women and he believed in a few years it would be about 50 per cent.