Mandeep Kaur: From Salesperson to Taxi Driver, Now a Top Cop in NZ
Mandeep Kaur was recently promoted to the rank of Senior Sergeant after 17 years in the force.
Mandeep Kaur, born in Punjab, India has made history in New Zealand by being the first Indian-origin female police officer there.
A journey riddled with doubts, salvaged by the need for change.
Having left for New Zealand from India in 1994, Kaur had to leave behind both of her children to get settled there. Doing this was even more difficult after her divorce, since she was now a single mother.
Nevertheless, she left her children with her parents, and reached New Zealand, where she started her first job as a door-to-door salesperson. She recounts that experience and talks about how she didn't know how to speak English when she moved and that presented her with a lot of challenges.
"I was able to read and write but I couldn't really speak. So I'd written my pitch on a piece of paper and I'd go door to door to sell", she said in a statement to the New Zealand Herald.
Soon after this job, she also took up jobs driving a taxi in New Zealand. In 2002, when one of her passengers spoke about childhood dreams the psychology behind them, it got her thinking about her own childhood aspirations of becoming a police officer. She wasted no time and immediately decided to apply.
This was also the time her children Amardeep and Parneet had come to live with her.
She talked about her feelings to retired Police Officer John Pegler, who was a receptionist at the women's lodge in Auckland where she stayed. He encouraged her immensely, and helped her out too.
The journey to becoming a police officer was not easy, she had to lose 20 kgs to get fit, and pass swimming tests that required her to bare her legs and arms; something she wasn't entirely prepared for given her background.
On the path to Sergeant since 2004
Despite all these challenges, 2 years later, in 2004, she was officially a part of the New Zealand police force. She talks about how everyone got an equal chance there irrespective of their gender and race.
After all her efforts, she was finally given the rank of a Senior Sergeant in the New Zealand police force last month, making her the first Indian-origin women to be achieving this feat. She starts working in her senior role at the Police National Headquarters this month and has a greater platform to uplift minorities and people belonging to diverse ethnicities like herself.
(With inputs from New Zealand Herald)
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