First Ethnic Police Officer to achieve high on Queen’s Birthday Honours List
Sameer Handa, Chairman, India New Zealand Business Council, also becomes a Member of the Order of New Zealand Merit for his services to business and New Zealand- India relations. We will publish a separate story later today.
Auckland, June 7, 2021
We are happy to report that Sergeant Gurpreet Arora has been appointed by Queen Elizabeth II as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) on her Birthday Honours List, announced early this morning.
Sergeant Gurpreet becomes the first Ethnic Police Officer in New Zealand to achieve this highly-placed Order, which is preceded only by Dames Grand and Knights Grand Companion, Dames and Knights Companion, Principal and Distinguished Companions, Companions and Officers appointed by the Queen twice a year on the advice of the New Zealand government.
Police Commissioner greets
Police Commissioner Andy Coster congratulated Sergeant Gurpreet saying that has worked extensively with South Asian communities, developing or helping implement projects such as Operation Dukan, in which Police worked with small business proprietors to improve their safety at a time of high offending against them, and in family harm initiatives.
Speaking to Indian Newslink, Sergeant Gurpreet said that he was honoured to receive the high Honour given by the Queen through the New Zealand government.
Challenges and Rewards
“The Police journey has been full of challenges and sacrifices but very rewarding. This is not just my achievement, it is an achievement for the whole community and I wish to thank all those who have helped me on this journey,” he said.
Sergeant Gurpreet attributed the Award to the survivors of Family Violence and to the brilliant social workers and counsellors supporting victims including children and perpetrators.
“I will continue to work hard to ensure I play my part in reducing Family Violence and elder abuse in our communities. I wish to acknowledge my mother and my wife. Without their support, I would not have been able to achieve what I have achieved to date,” he said.
A Champion of Family Peace
This Reporter has worked with Sergeant Gurpreet since he joined the New Zealand Police in 2006 and launched his career in the Beats Section in Christchurch. Since then, he has returned to Canterbury on at least two major occasions- both under tragic circumstances and both to bring comfort and solace to people. The first of these was when tremors and aftershocks struck Christchurch in 2011 and the Mosques Massacre in 2019.
Sergeant Gurpreet has been involved in almost all aspects of Policing- from the front line and homicide investigation to being a beat constable and addressing family harm.
He was among the founders of Gandhi Nivas, a service established in December 2014 to address the oft-forgotten aspect of Family Violence- perpetrators- predominantly men. Picking up the challenge that was tossed to us by the then District Commander of Counties Manukau Police Superintendent (now Deputy Commissioner) John Tims to take offending men, offer them counselling and send them back home as changed people. Gandhi Nivas has been a recipient of several awards and citations, each of which belongs to him as it does to others behind the Project.
Some Firsts in the Police
Counties Manukau Police has seen Sergeant Gurpreet in action to resolve many cases. They include Operation Bastille (Homicide in Papatoetoe, resolved with admission by a female suspect), Operation Roe (Electoral Fraud Provided language and cultural support) and Operation Dukan (Engaged with more than 300 Dairy and Liquor store owners) at least twice.
He was also instrumental in introducing Diwali and Eid Celebrations in Counties Manukau about ten years ago.
Following the lead set by the City District Police a few years earlier, he prepared the groundwork to establish the Counties Manukau Asian and South Asian District Advisory Boards under the directive of the then District Commander (who later retired as Police Commissioner in March 2020) Mike Bush in March 2009.
International students have a lot to thank Sergeant Gurpreet, whose research and support helped the New Zealand Police in Auckland to help in the development of programmes to address their exploitation and other challenges. He established ‘New to New Zealand,’ an initiative that aims to inform, support and guide international students from becoming victims of crime.
Sergeant Gurpreet is a Cricket enthusiast and has represented the New Zealand Police in several tournaments, including those organised in Australia in 2007 and 2009.
Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit
The Queen appoints people of distinction as Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM), one of the five classes to the New Zealand Order of Merit.
These are awarded to those, “who, in any field of endeavour have rendered meritorious service to the Crown and Nation or who have become distinguished by their eminence, talents, contributions or other merits.”
Prior to being seconded as the District Family Harm Partnership Liaison Officer, his career in Counties Manukau included those as District Ethnic Services Coordinator, Ethnic Peoples Community Relations Officer, Emergency Response Constable, Manurewa and previously as Emergency Response Constable and Beat Constable in Christchurch.
He was Acting Senior Sergeant on the aftermath of Christchurch Mosque Shootings in March 2019 and Acting Sergeant at the Rugby World Cup, Auckland and Christchurch Earthquake and aftershocks in 2011.
The above Report has been sponsored by