A former Māori Television presenter fluent in Te Reo will be one of 22 new constables graduating in Auckland this Māori Language Week.
The new constables will be graduating at a ceremony at the Vodafone Events Centre in Auckland tomorrow.
After 19 weeks of intensive training, they’re ready to join the three Auckland police districts and work on the frontline.
Between them, they speak more than nine languages, including Te Reo Māori, Sign Language, Korean, Tongan, Mandarin and Cantonese, Punjabi and Hindi.
For Nawaia Watene, he’s looking forward to being able to use his first language in his every day Police work based in Waitematā.
“For me, speaking Te Reo is vital. I believe any language is a doorway to culture, through Te Reo you learn about Māori culture, history and Tikanga (customs). I’m so excited to share the Māori culture with my colleagues, peers and the communities we serve,” he says.
Nawaia studied film and television before going on to have successful nine-year career as a camera operator and presenter for the likes of Māori Television and other media outlets.
“I always felt like I wanted to do something that is bigger than myself. I’ve always wanted to help others and represent Māori in the Police and show there is a path for Māori in the Police.”
Nawaia says he also wants to be a role model for his four-month-old son.
He’s grateful he was able to be trained in Tāmaki Makaurau as part of a non-residential course, meaning he could be there for the birth of his son and be able to live at home instead of moving to and training at the Royal New Zealand Police College in Porirua, Wellington.
For 21-year-old Cameron Steedman joining the Police was also about being a role model for his 17-month-old daughter.
The plumber turned constable says he wanted to do something more rewarding when he signed up to join Police.
“I was really drawn to Police because I wanted to work in a team environment where everyone works collectively to help people and our communities. I’m really proud to be able to wear the Police uniform and be amongst likeminded people.”
Of the 22 new constables, three will be based in Auckland City, 13 will be based in Counties Manukau, and six will be based in Waitematā.
The ceremony will be held at the Vodafone Events Centre, 770 Great South Rd, Wiri, Manukau, on Thursday September 12, starting at 1.30pm.
Deputy Commissioner John Tims will be attending with the Minister of Police, the Hon Stuart Nash.
Adriana Weber/NZ Police
Media note: Any media wishing to attend the graduation is asked to please RSVP by emailing the Police Media Centre at email@example.com.