Happiest being able to help

New police officer Constable Chanel Pienaar is happy to be back in the South as Dunedin’s newest...
New police officer Constable Chanel Pienaar is happy to be back in the South as Dunedin’s newest recruit. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Becoming a police officer was a role that enabled Constable Chanel Pienaar (29) to fulfil her greatest passion — helping others.

Dunedin’s newest front-line police officer joined the force this week, achieving a lifelong dream and returning after 16 weeks of police training.

Const Pienaar graduated from the Royal New Zealand Police College in Porirua on November 25.

Of the 59 new police graduating, she was the only recruit deployed to Dunedin.

Growing up in South Africa with her father in the police force, Const Pienaar said policing had been something she had wanted to do from a young age.

"I’ve always loved helping people, understanding their stories and what’s going on for them. It’s not just about dealing with the problem that’s at hand, it’s about understanding and trying to support and help."

The family migrated to Timaru in 2006.

After leaving school, she hoped to build resilience and a more robust understanding of the lives of others before joining the force.

That led her to a degree in physical education at the University of Otago, and then she spent more than six years as a health manager at Sport Otago.

"In health, people would have an interesting background, or there would be a lot of factors that contributed to their condition. In this sense, in this workforce, it’s the same thing."

Above all else, she looked forward to supporting people.

"Police aren’t there with the intent to arrest people — we’re there to help."

Const Pienaar had a passion for sports, and had been heavily involved in netball, cross fit and, recently, weightlifting, which had won her acclaim in South Island competitions.

Almost half of those graduating alongside Const Pienaar were women, or gender diverse.

Cadets came from a range of backgrounds, including Maori, Pacific and Asian among others, including four from South Africa.

"It’s really cool to see that diversity coming through," she said.

The uniform could be intimidating for some, but "if you can speak their native tongue, or you might look similar, or you might have similar beliefs, that finds a connection.

"When you have a connection people are often more comfortable telling their story, or asking for help."



Add a Comment