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Issue No. 413 May 2017

Police honour centenarian sprinter

There were many overseas athletes in Auckland for the World Masters Games, but only one Mann Kaur.

Mann Kaur, centre, Gurdev Singh (beige turban) and a fellow Indian competitor with (standing) Inspectors Rakesh Naidoo and Willi Fanene, Detective Khushwinder Kullar, Detective Constables Satinder Singh and Amaninder Sandhu, Constable Mandeep Kaur; and (kneeling) Senior Constable Karen Murphy and Constables Telisha Kumar and Lavleen Kaur.

The 101-year-old Indian sprinter won four medals and the hearts of Kiwis – including Waitemata Police, who joined with Waitakere Ethnic Board (WEB) to host a reception for her at Henderson Police Station.

Ethnic Services Coordinator Constable Mandeep Kaur (no relation) says she was inspired to organise the reception – with the blessing of District Commander Superintendent Tusha Penny - after helping Mrs Kaur with transport to local events in a personal capacity.

She says Mrs Kaur sets a wonderful example to older women – particularly in communities where they are often expected to stay home - to remain active.

Police ethnic staff from across Auckland joined around 80 community members, and police officers from India who were also Games competitors, at the event.

Inspector Rakesh Naidoo acknowledged Mrs Kaur and her 79-year-old son – and fellow competitor - Gurdev Singh, and relayed messages from Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy and Indian High Commissioner Sanjiv Kohli.

Inspector Willi Fanene presented Mrs Kaur with a plaque. Other speakers included WEB President Shirley Freeman and Auckland Councillors Penny Hulse and Linda Cooper.

Also present was Senior Constable Karen Murphy, a world champion runner and holder of many New Zealand records.

“Mrs Kaur and her son said New Zealand was the country where they had the best reception, not only from Police but other organisations,” says Mandeep. “They felt very welcomed and very touched that Police wanted to honour them in this way.”

Mandeep says such events raise Police’s profile among Indian communities, boosting trust and confidence and potential recruitment.

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