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Source: New Zealand Police (National News)

The announcement of the new Otago Lakes Central Area Commander not only brings a key appointment with vast experience to the role, but also a positive first for Southern District.

Southern District Commander Superintendent Paul Basham has announced that Inspector Paula Enoka QSM is the new Otago Lakes Central Area Commander, becoming Southern’s first female area commander.

“Paula brings vast experience, knowledge and a passion for the area to this role,” says Superintendent Basham. “Her outstanding leadership qualities have been on display in our district for a number of years now, and she has built strong, positive relationships since arriving in Queenstown in 2015.”

Paula (Ngāti Whatua Iwi, Te Uri o Hau hapu) holds a BCom in Management from Auckland University and is also a former New Zealand representative in hockey, playing for the Black Sticks at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games.

She joined Police in 2001, working in Wellington before a move to Waitematā District, where she progressed through workgroups including Public Safety Teams, Road Policing, Burglary Targeting Team, Investigations and also as Iwi Liaison Officer.

During this time, Paula also spent 12 months in Timor Leste as a Detention Centre Commander, from October 2006 to October 2007. Paula’s arrival was in the wake of significant conflict between the Timor Leste Police and the military, and the killing of eight police officers. She credits this deployment as a formative experience in her career.

Paula subsequently featured in the 2008 Queen’s Birthday Honours list for her work in Timor Leste, receiving the Queen’s Service Medal. Her performance in assuming a high level of responsibility in an area of policing that was critically important to establishing and maintaining stability in the region was noted as being a credit to New Zealand.

When asked how she feels about being the first ever female area commander in Southern District, Paula’s pride is clear.

I’m certainly proud and honoured to be in this position,“ says Paula.

“Most of all though, I’m just really looking forward to continuing being part of the amazing team in Otago Lakes Central that aspire to bring their best to the area every day.

“I’m going to keep building the trust and support that they offer, because that’s so important to how we can collectively get the best results for our communities here.”

Paula began her duties as area commander on Monday 3 May and a formal pōwhiri welcoming her to the role will take place on Friday 21 May at Dunstan High School in Alexandra 12 noon.

PLEASE RSVP to the Police Media Centre on if you wish to attend the powhiri on Friday.