Wednesday, 7 March 2007 - 5:15pm |
National News

Ex-Tall Fern graduates top of class from Police College

4 min read

After representing New Zealand for 11 years in our national women's basketball squad, the Tall Ferns, Rebecca Cotton has joined the New Zealand Police.

Rebecca had also played professionally for four years in Germany, Sweden and Australia when she retired from the squad after the Melbourne Commonwealth Games last year.

Back in her home town of Tauranga and looking for a new challenge, Rebecca was encouraged by mates to 'stop just talking about joining the Police and instead do something about it'.

She has thoroughly enjoyed the 19-week training course, graduating top of her wing and taking the International Police Association Academic Prize.

"I'm very much a goals oriented person," says Constable Cotton. She hopes to join the CIB in the future, but in the meantime is enthusiastic about returning to Tauranga to get on with the job.

Seventy-one new police officers will graduate from The Royal New Zealand Police College tomorrow in Wing 238. The wing's patron is Ken Laban, a prominent community leader and sports commentator. Ken will be joined at the graduation ceremony by his sister, Member of Parliament for the Mana electorate Winnie Laban, and his mother Emi Laban, who will present the College with a ceremonial tapa cloth, an heirloom that has been in the Laban family for six generations.

The graduates of Wing 238 come from an interesting array of backgrounds. Many, have wanted to join the Police from an early age but were advised by family to complete tertiary study and gain life experience first.

Two such people are Nathalie Jones, a former barrister and immigration appeals analyst who has also worked in London as a personal trainer to celebrities, and Jason Poh, who was previously using his science degree to care for the penguins at Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World in Auckland.

The graduation will take place at The Royal New Zealand Police College on Thursday 8 March at 2:00pm.

  • 71 recruits will graduate - 52 males and 19 females  • The average age of wing members is 28 (the youngest is 18 and the oldest is 46)

To find out more about joining the Police phone 0800 NEW COPS (639 2677) or visit

District postings:

* Northland - Kaikohe (1), Kaitaia (1), Whangarei (2)

* Waitemata - Henderson (8), North Shore Policing Centre (1), Orewa (2)

* Auckland City - Downtown Auckland (2), Auckland Central (3), Mt Wellington (4) Avondale (3)

* Counties Manukau - Manurewa (2), Otahuhu (4), Papakura (4)

* Waikato - Hamilton (2)

* Bay of Plenty - Rotorua (4), Tauranga (6)

* Eastern - Napier (1), Hastings (2)

* Central - Hawera (1), Wanganui (3)

* Wellington - Masterton (1), Lower Hutt (3), Wellington (5), Porirua (1)

* Canterbury - Christchurch (1)

*Southern - Dunedin (2), Invercargill (2)

Wing 238 prize winners:

  • Minister's Prize for First in Wing was awarded to Constable Rebecca COTTON posted to Tauranga.

Constable Cotton was also awarded the International Police Association Academic Prize (for overall academic achievement)

  • Commissioner's Prize for Second in Wing was awarded to Constable Jennifer HANSEN posted to Lower Hutt

Constable Hansen was also awarded the Ericsson Practical Prize (overall winner for practical assessments, file preparation and fingerprinting)

  • Patron's Prize for Third in Wing was awarded to Constable Jane CALLAGHAN posted to Hastings.

  • The Holden Tactical Skills and Safety Prize (overall winner in defensive tactics, firearms and driving) was awarded to Constable Jason TINSLEY posted to Tauranga.

  • The Physical Training and Defensive Tactics Award was awarded to Constable Huia PAUL posted to Mt Wellington

  • The Metzler Prize for weapon training was awarded to Constable Susan LILEY posted to Napier

Constables Liley and Paul were also awarded section prizes (see below).

  • The Driver Training Award was awarded to Constable Phillippa COOPER posted to Hawera.

Police Association prizes for section achievement:

This prize is awarded to an individual from each section who, in the collective view of the members of the section and the wing instructors, made the greatest contribution to the overall success of the team.

Section One, Constable Glenn FORREST posted to Christchurch

Section Two, Constable Andrew IVEY posted to Whangarei

Section Three, Constable Susan LILEY posted to Napier

Section Four, Constable Huia PAUL posted to Mt Wellington

Wing Patron: Ken Laban

Ken Laban has been described as an enthusiast for youthful ambition and is a man of great mana and credibility. As manager of the Tamaiti Whangai community programme in the Hutt Valley, he has committed his skill, experience and passion to connect with disadvantaged children and their families. The programme helps children to achieve through sport, performing arts and creative learning activity.

A former police officer and Wellington rugby union and league representative, Ken began a radio sports commentating career in 1990, co-hosting his Saturday morning sports programme on 'The Breeze' with cricket international John Morrison for many years and remains a regular sports commentator for a range of media.

Ken's community involvement includes serving on the Hutt Valley District Health Board, the Board of Trustees at Scots College and the Tamaiti Whangai Public Health Organisation as well as managing the Wellington U17 Elite Rugby Squad and coaching the NZ Police rugby team.


For more information or to attend graduation please contact:

Katrina Graham, Acting Communications Adviser - 04 238 3572 or 0274 419 216