A Te Kuiti police officer who graduated from a wananga course on Thursday says Maori people she deals with feel more comfortable with her - and her course has empowered her to handle heated situations more calmly.
Ngahuia Sheedy of Ngati Maniapoto was one of the 23 police officers who received Te Wananga o Aotearoa certificates for a program that covers leadership, cultural understanding, and communication skills.
Because she comes from the King Country, she said she already has a good rapport with the locals, but her vocational wananga course had added to her knowledge of how to be a more effective police officer.
Ms Sheedy said Maori people seem to be more receptive when they talk to somebody who understands their cultural background.
She said it makes a big difference when she has to sort out difficult situations.
Police praise Te Wananga O Aotearoa because the vocational course is one of a number of initiatives they are using to increase the diversity of its workforce.