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Trailblazer: Ngaire Kelaher setting the standard

NZ Security, Dec 2016 / Jan 2017

In this issue we profile ASIS NZ Secretary and NZSA Deputy Director of Training Ngaire Kelaher. In an industry more male dominated than most, peer feedback suggests that Ngaire is setting the standard not just for women in security but for the industry in general.


Ngaire Kelaher holds the distinction of being the only female CPP and PSP dual certification holder in Australasia. Add to these acronyms a Diploma of Adult Education and a 'Highly Commended' award as a Security Trainer at this year’s NZ Security Industry Awards and one starts to form the picture of one driven security training professional.

According to Scott McNaughton, Chairman of the New Zealand chapter of ASIS and Senior Manager, Protective Security, ASB, there are only five dual or more ASIS International certification holders in NZ (four with two and one with three), including Ngaire. There are just 42 dual (or triple) female ASIS International certification holders worldwide (31 with two and eleven with three).

Scott, who has known Ngaire for about two years through their respective positions in ASIS, describes Ngaire a pleasure to work with, personifying the Kiwi attitude of being low-key in celebrating her achievements.  However, he says, “that modesty and self-depreciating approach is underlined by a strong and determined individual who is very competent and capable.”

“Ngaire's passion for training is clearly evident to all who are fortunate enough to be instructed by her in her 'day job', as Deputy Director of Training with the NZSA.”

“Ngaire has an enthusiastic approach to everything she does and this enthusiasm is infectious to all exposed to it,” comments Scott. “I have never met a busier person with huge commitments around work and personal life – even with those commitments she has always been prepared to take on more work.”


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Long-time colleague, Security Consultant Lincoln Potter, thinks of Ngaire as more of a “Tomb Raider without the guns”. Recalling his first meeting with her at a Close Protection Training delivered by former NZSAS Sargent Glenn Berridge, he comments that even though she was regarded as an experienced educator, “she suffered with the rest of us under training, [and] you don't forget training at this level.”

Describing Ngaire as a gifted educator and formidable field officer, Lincoln points to the ripple effect of her work, with her expertise having rubbed off on many others, including himself. She has enriched my life as an educator giving me insights and guidance that have paid off in my teaching of other security officers.”

“What people don't know is that she is an expert / specialist on documentation regarding NZQA, file builds and associated Ministry of Education, audits and Skills and all the crap that goes along with it.”

“What's it like to work with Ngarie? easy really, [but] don’t upset her! She can be rather dangerous!,” warns Lincoln. “I do recall the time when she said she was going to kill me, cook me and eat me.”

According to Scott, Ngaire has broken through a glass ceiling in what has traditionally been a male dominated sector, “and would now have to be considered one of the most qualified security practitioners in New Zealand.”

“She is indeed a trail blazer for women in security and we are all watching with considerable interest as to what her next achievement will be.”


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