New Zealand Police

New Zealand Police


Explore the early history of Police, read the memorials of officers killed by criminal acts, learn about modern insignia of rank and find out about the exciting Police Museum near Porirua.

The establishment of New Zealand Police

In 1840, with the arrival of Governor Hobson in New Zealand, Police Magistrates exercised their power to appoint selected men to act as police. Six years later, on 9 October 1846, an ordinance for the establishment and maintenance of a constabulary force was passed.

This Act described the police force as “a sufficient number of fit and able men who would serve as an ‘armed force’ for preserving the peace and preventing robberies and other felonies and apprehending offenders against the peace.”

The gold rushes of the 1860s in Otago and Canterbury meant police often had a difficult time keeping the peace. After 1867 the Armed Constabulary was also required to fight in the land wars.

The Police Act 1886 established New Zealand’s first national, civil, police force. The force was generally unarmed. Sergeant John Nash was New Zealand’s first non-commissioned police officer.

In 1958 a new Police Act was passed in which the word ‘force’ was removed. The name now used is New Zealand Police or Police.
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