People: A colourful care

Former police officer Paulini Naliva during the Retired Police Batch 1/82 reunion at the Highway Kava Bar in Makoi, Nasinu. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Being the only woman in an all-male Fiji Police Force recruitment batch was a transformative step for Paulini Naliva in 1982.

Ms Naliva of Keiyasi Village, Navosa who was with the police force for 23 years has had a colourful career before resigning to join the UN mission as its security personnel.

Today, a proud mother and grandmother, Ms Naliva looks back at her role and how it has built a strong foundation for her and her family over the years.

Last week, Ms Naliva had the pleasure to attend a reunion for her batch in Makoi, where her batch members mainly consisting of retired police officers reminisced on the good old days in training.

Even though Ms Naliva was the only female to be recruited in 1982, she like her male colleagues was more than capable of carrying out difficult task assigned to her during training.

“I joined the force with my male colleagues and was the only woman there.

I had earlier attended Adi Cakobau School so going into an all-male environment after high school was quite challenging.

“When I was selected from the Western Division as the only woman I told myself that there might be some female recruits in Nasova, but to my surprise there wasn’t any in our batch.

“I took it up as a challenge and I did very well during my recruitment training. Sometimes, I would even beat some of my male colleagues in physical training as well as academically. We then completed our training after seven months, the longest training course to be done by the force since 1982.”

She said she was overwhelmed after seeing some of her colleagues after 40 years at the reunion.

“When I saw my colleagues clapping and smiling when I entered I was so emotional because I didn’t meet some of them after we left Nasova because we were stationed at different places around the country.

“I’m so happy to be able to meet with some of them, but also saddened by the fact that some of them have passed on.”

The last position Ms Naliva held at the Fiji Police Force before she left was support officer to the former late Commissioner of Police, Andrew Hughes.

“After 23 years with the Fiji Police Force I decided to resign. This was after I received an offer letter from the United Nations.

“I took my offer letter to Mr Hughes and asked him for advice on it. He saw the contract and he looked at me and said Paulini opportunities knocks but once, you go for it.

For me that was the start of my career with the UN. “I resigned in 2006 with the force and was assigned by the UN to serve in Liberia, West Africa for seven years.

“From West Africa I went to the Caribbean where I served in Haiti Mission for two years and from there went to West Africa (Sudan) where I spent five years.”

She served the mission until it was closed last year.

“For me and some of my colleagues in the mission we have different contracts so those of us with continuing contracts we were offered reassigned positions with other UN Missions.

“We were offered options to take up other missions or come back home to do something and return to work until we retire as the retirement age is 65.

“I have seven years left, so I thought this was a good opportunity to come back home and see what I can do with what I have saved of course being aware of the pandemic situation too.

“I’ve been in the country since August last year and I have been doing some projects back at home. I have some things currently lined up that I want to do before I return, but all in God’s will and timing.

“I always seek God’s guidance and wisdom in what I do and right now I’m enjoying my time at home with family.”

As a security officer for the UN, Ms Naliva like many security personnel from around the world helps foster peace and security.

She and her colleagues reinforce and re-establish security through patrolling, community-oriented policing and other operational support.

She said her role as a security officer with the UN was the same as her role here with the police force.

She said the UN Security Division was the police force of the UN, where officers were law enforces of UN regulations.

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