Camp Quality’s secret agent, Telisha Krishna: ‘these kids need us!’


Auckland / Northland

Camp Quality’s secret agent, Telisha Krishna: ‘these kids need us!’

As a volunteer for children’s cancer charity Camp Quality for more than a decade, police officer Telisha Krishna relishes the chance to step away from her serious day job and have fun with kids who have endured so much.KT

But after giving birth to her firstborn in 2022, the work took on a whole new meaning and Telisha was more determined than ever to give back. So, just four months after giving birth, the Central Auckland sergeant committed to running five half marathons to raise awareness and funds for the worthy cause.

“Now, as a parent, I can understand how challenging their journey would have been, which makes me more determined to support Camp Quality,” says the 30-year-old, who admits it’s been more of a challenge than she anticipated.

“Training for 21km takes hours of pushing your body. At six weeks postpartum I ran 2km, at four months I ran my first 10km and at 10 months postpartum I ran my first-ever 21km race, still breastfeeding at the time. My body has gone through so many things, so it feels like a real achievement.”

Matching her pace for pace during the half- marathon challenge is devoted husband and specialist lung cancer nurse Kaveendra, 30, who inspired his wife to join him in volunteering with Camp Quality in 2012.

KT Quality Runners3She explains, “These kids have been through a lot and at Camp Quality they get to do things like white-water rafting, swimming, playing sport and baking. Things they don’t normally have a chance to do when they’ve been in hospital for so long.”

Juggling their busy work schedules, raising Shaan, 15 months, and running training is a mammoth effort, but the couple is adamant it’s all worth it. In fact, Telisha and Kaveendra are striving to raise $30,000 for the camp, which gives children with cancer a sense of normality and independence, and focuses on the positive aspects of their lives.

Friends have joined in the mission, with four half marathons completed in Devonport, Ōmaha, Coatesville and Maraetai, plus one more to go on April 7 along the Auckland waterfront.

Talking about their busy lifestyle, Telisha laughs, explaining she thrives in busy environments.

Born in Auckland, where she still lives, to first generation Kiwi Indian parents, growing up it was impressed upon Telisha how important it was to go to university – something her parents didn’t have the opportunity to do when they were young.

But when a police officer gave a career talk at high school, Telisha was instantly intrigued.

At 18, she started volunteering at her local police station on the weekends to get some experience and, by 19, she had joined the police.

After 11 years, she still loves the job, even though over the years it’s meant dealing with incredibly challenging situations, like policing the 2022 Covid-mandate protests in Wellington.T Parliment protests

“People forget that behind the uniform there is a person, someone’s daughter, sister and mother,” says Telisha. “I’m representing my people and I’m so honoured to do that.”

Reflecting on her tenure so far, Telisha shares one highlight was being thanked by a person for her role in improving his life.

“I visited one of the guys I arrested in prison to see how he was doing and talk about how we could get him to do better,” she tells. “Then a couple of years later, I saw him in town. He recognised me first, gave me a hug, and told me had a family, a job and was on the right track, then thanked me and my colleagues.

“There were so many people involved in helping on that journey, but to see the other side where they’ve actually turned their life around was really cool.”

Telisha is proud of all she’s achieved to date, and the example she and Kaveendra are setting for Shaan and others in their community.

With her infectiously positive demeanour, she hopes her story inspires other women, especially from culturally diverse backgrounds, to go after their own goals.

“I want people to look at me and think, ‘She’s ethnic, she’s a mum and a sergeant,’ and to know they can do anything too. It doesn’t have to be the police – I just want the message out there that you can do anything you want to do. Put your mind to it, be confident in yourself and know that you can do it.”

To support the Camp Quality runners visit

Woman's Weekly article by Kasia De Vydt-Jillings