Police Inspector Donna Howard was formally "handed over" by her Wellington colleagues to her new "family" in Wairarapa during a powhiri in Masterton yesterday morning.

Ms Howard is Wairarapa's new area commander, a position left vacant after the departure of Inspector Brent Register last year.

Te Rangimarie Marie in Masterton hosted the powhiri, with rain holding off for the walk-on of Ms Howard and a cohort of senior police officers and friends.

Before the walk-on, Ms Howard told the Times-Age she had "butterflies" because it was a privilege to be welcomed in such a way.


"I'm very touched."

She said she had not experienced a similar event before.

"It's all very new.

"I'm pretty overwhelmed."

Ms Howard comes from a two-year management role as a professional conduct manager at the police national headquarters in Wellington.

She will be Wairarapa's first permanent female area commander, joining nine other female area commanders from throughout the country.