One in a millennium

One in a millennium

When Police Recruit Liam Hawkes became Constable Hawkes last week, it was a small landmark for New Zealand Police.

Liam, who was born in January 2000, is our first police officer born since the turn of the millennium.

He was one of 79 constables to graduate from Recruit Wing 320 at the Royal New Zealand Police College (RNZPC) on Thursday 15 November. They are being posted to every Police district.

Liam family

Liam and whānau - Caitlyn Hawkes, Amy Tedbury, mum Lynn

Hawkes and junior support crew Orion and Millie.

Well-wishers packed the RNZPC gymnasium to see the final parade of the wing’s 16-week initial training, in the company of VIPs including the Wing Patron, Olympian rower Rob Waddell; Police Minister Stuart Nash; and Commissioner Mike Bush.

Liam, who at 18 years old is comfortably less than half the age of some of his wingmates, is being posted to Tokoroa, Bay of Plenty District, near his home town Putaruru.

He says he never questioned his chosen career, even though doubts were expressed in some quarters about whether he would be accepted into Police straight from high school.

“It was what I’ve wanted to do from a young age – I just wanted to get out there and start being a good influence,” he says.

“I’ve seen people my age that have been like a normal kid growing up but when we hit a certain age – 14 to 15 – then they get into gang life and it takes over.

“I just hate seeing that young children can be influenced so easily by bad people. They need positive people in Police they can turn to instead of looking up to gang members.”

Liam says he was influenced by local police officers in Tokoroa and Putaruru in childhood. “They were always a positive influence and I looked up to them,” he says.

He was also influenced by his upbringing. “I’ve grown up looking after my nieces and nephews – it has been drilled into me that we have to look after people.

“Being Māori, I learned that we need to care for each other. That’s something I’ll be bringing to Police.”

In his speech, Rob Waddell said Police’s values were similar to the values “in the hearts and minds of our athletes as they line up for their moment of truth”.

He listed some of his Kiwi heroes – Sir Edmund Hillary, Peter Blake, Willie Apiata VC. “The good news is you’re next on the list,” he said. “You are the next great New Zealanders to step up and perform.”

He concluded: “As individuals we might be small, but as a team we’re mighty.”

The 79 graduates of Wing 320 come from a range of backgrounds. Some have family links to Police and some have served in the military in New Zealand or elsewhere or in other emergency services.

Others have been community volunteers in fields including surf lifesaving, volunteer firefighting, Community Patrols, working with youngsters – and even helping raise kiwi chicks on Tiritiri Matangi island.

Constable Stephanie Park (Wellington) served in New South Wales Police and the Australian Federal Police and decided to move to New Zealand after meeting her partner – Senior Constable Reid Hodgkinson - when they were both deployed to the Solomon Islands.

“I love policing and wanted to stay in this field, as I couldn’t imagine another career that was as fulfilling,” says Stephanie.

With the 79 new graduates, there are almost 9,300 police officers serving in New Zealand, with nearly 400 of the 1,800 extra officers currently being recruited now in place. Further growth of more than 200 is expected by the end of the 2018/19 year.


Awards

  • Minister’s Award for First in Wing – Constable Samantha Lindley (Southern)

  • Patron’s Award for Second in Wing – Constable Kym Binding (Eastern)

  • Commissioner’s Award for Leadership – Constable Teichmann Collins (Wellington)

  • Physical Training and Defensive Tactics Award – Constable Kym Binding (Eastern)

  • Driver Training and Road Policing Practice Award – Constable Ben Ferguson (Waitematā)

  • Firearms Award – Constable Tony McGoldrick (Southern)

 

Deployment by district

Northland – 4; Waitematā – 12; Auckland – 10; Counties Manukau – 5; Waikato – 7; Bay of Plenty – 6; Eastern – 3; Central – 7; Wellington – 9; Tasman – 2; Canterbury – 8; Southern - 6.