Paula Enoka has been appointed the role of Otago Lakes Central commander - the first woman and Māori to do so.
The appointment was made after six years as Queenstown police station's response manager.
Enoka [Ngāti Whātua, Te Uri o Hau] has been in the Police since 2001 after completing a Bachelor of Commerce.
She has also represented New Zealand in the Black Sticks in 2002 at the Manchester Commonwealth Games.
She was recognised with a Queen's Service Medal after serving a year in Timor Leste as a detention centre commander in the wake of conflict between the Timor Leste police and military, which saw eight police officers killed.
Southern District Commander Superintendent Paul Basham said Enoka brought vast experience, knowledge and a passion for the area to the role.
“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.”
Enoka said she was proud and honoured to be in the position.
“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.”
She replaces former area commander Inspector Olaf Jensen, who retired after 39 years with police.