Seventy-eight new constables will graduate from Wing 293 at the Royal New Zealand Police College (RNZPC) tomorrow, Thursday 22nd October 2015.
The graduating constables hail from many different countries including Australia, Brazil, England, Czech Republic, American Samoa, Netherlands, Samoa, UK, India, Solomon Islands and Tonga. The Wing’s youngest graduating constable is 19 while the eldest is 51.
The patron for the wing is Sir Gordon Tietjens KNZM who is considered to be one of the finest coaches of any sport in the world. He has led New Zealand’s dominating run in the world of rugby sevens throughout the 1990s and 2000s. In the 16 years since the IRB Rugby World Series has been run, he has won 12 World Titles and four Commonwealth Games gold medals: 1998 Kuala Lumpur, 2002 Manchester, 2006 Melbourne and 2010 Delhi. Sir Gordon cannot attend tomorrow’s graduation due to other commitments, but is proud to be part of this Wing’s achievements. He has shown a keen interest in the Wing’s progress, and made time in his busy schedule to watch the recruits take part in firearms and road policing training.
Qualifications prove helpful:
Many of the graduating constables have a variety of tertiary qualifications to be proud of, such as bachelor degrees in forestry, botany, business, psychology, ecology; politics & Maori studies, screen and media and even physical education. Some have degrees which will prove very useful for new constables such as, law and criminology to name just a few.
Some of the constables have a variety of trade certificates including hairdressing, printing, electrical engineering, IT, personal training, apiculture, quantity surveying and construction management. Others have apprenticeships in mechanics, plumbing and building and joinery.
Contribution to the community:
Wing 293 has contributed to several events in the Wellington region, Police Open Day and Police Remembrance Day at the RNZPC. The Wing also assisted at the Paremata School Gala hosting a modified Police Competency Test (PCT) circuit for the children, and making available two uniformed patrol vehicles for the children to explore. Other constables helped out at the Upper Hutt Spring Festival with public relations and community engagement.
Fitness and team work go hand in hand for new graduates
Constable Catherine Allingham was previously a representative for New Zealand area schools in netball and volleyball and a Northland representative in Women’s Rugby Sevens. “Having Sir Gordon Tietjens as a wing patron has been an honour and a privilege. I have valued having someone to look up to as a leader like Sir Gordon, a person who commands respect and possesses so much mana throughout the sporting community,” she says.
Others representing New Zealand or their National Provincial teams in rugby are Constables William Duffy, who was a representative for Poverty Bay, Samuel Leung-Wai, an NPC rugby player who also played rugby overseas, and Thomas McIntyre who played rugby for Hawkes Bay U20.
Constable David Pulemagafa also played rugby overseas. "For as long as I can remember, I've always wanted to be a police officer, or an All Black. Having Sir Gordon Tietjens as our Wing Patron, mentor and coach, I feel that I've achieved both. I am very proud and honoured to be selected for The Sir Gordon Tietjens Wing, as I know I am not only representing myself and my family but also the Porirua Community,” says Constable Pulemagafa.
Constable Nathaniel Solomona played rugby for Auckland, plus teams on the Gold Coast, while Constable Te Huna Karen Tatana was a Horowhenua representative in rugby and netball. Constable Michael McQuarrie represented Canterbury in touch rugby and Constable April Keeman also represented England at touch rugby at the Touch Rugby World Cup. Constable Keeman, who’s previously worked for the Olympic Committee, says, "It was a privilege to be part of Wing 293. My background in competitive sport really helped me adjust to the hard work we needed to put in, the determination and grit necessary to pass, and the wonderful feeling of camaraderie. I am very proud to be part of this organisation and can't wait to inspire other females to join our ranks.”
Constable Natalia Panoho, who gained her black belt at 16 years old, and won gold at the New Zealand National Karate Championships, says, "Looking back at the dedication, discipline and commitment I had for karate when I was younger puts in to perspective all the same attributes I now have and need for this exciting new career path. The excitement and passion I had for the sport is exactly how I am feeling now that I will be graduating. Graduating alongside my peers in Wing 293 will be one of the most blessed and rewarding achievements of my life so far.”
Keeping it in the family
Constable Benjamin Paull’s great-grandfather was one of the first policemen in the Wellington region. "Growing up, my great grandfather's meticulously hand-crafted baton from the founding days of policing in Wellington used to hang on the hallway coat hanger. Reading and seeing his amazing stories kept on faded, discoloured newspaper clippings and photos carved my desire to join the New Zealand Police. It gives me great pride to graduate with my family here knowing I can now go out and help the people of Wellington just as he did all those years ago,” says Constable Paull.
The winner of the Physical Training and Defensive Tactics award for Wing 293 is Constable Liam Wright whose dad is currently a serving police officer. Like Constable Wright, Constable Samuel Moffat’s dad is still a police officer too.
Constable Moffatt attributes his dad’s career to influencing his. “When I was younger I never thought I would join, but growing up with policing has made this course all the more exciting. Hearing dad's stories and experiences makes me really excited to get out into the real world and start writing my own story with the New Zealand Police,” says Constable Moffatt.
Ten wing members have had prior experience working with New Zealand Police in a variety of roles. Some have worked as Authorised Officers, while others have worked in Communications, Vetting and Validation, Youth Development and the police Technical Support Unit.
Wing 293 award winners:
• The Minister’s Award for First in Wing was awarded to Constable Felicity Holloway, posted to Waikato. This award recognises the top student after the collation of all course assessments. Constable Holloway Completed a BA in Screen and Media and Sociology and worked five jobs while studying. She has worked in Perth as a Heavy Engine Diesel Mechanics Assistant. Back in New Zealand she worked as a Therapist for kids with autism. “It dawned on me that I did not want to do a job where I wasn’t going home at the end of the day feeling morally satisfied. I wanted a stimulating career, where I could always keep furthering myself and make a difference, she says.”
• The Prevention Award (for demonstration of operational skills and prevention practices) was also awarded to Constable Felicity Holloway.
• The Patron’s Award for Second in Wing was awarded to Constable Jessica Lacy, posted to Bay of Plenty. This award recognises the second top student after the collation of all course assessments. Constable Lacy grew up in Hamilton and for the last two years worked as a swim instructor. She’s also had success playing hockey and in surf lifesaving. “My aspirations as a police officer are to be fair and empathetic. I love working within a team,” she says.
• The Commissioner’s Award for Leadership in recognition of outstanding potential to lead self and others) goes to Constable Adam Nock, posted to Auckland. Constable Nock has worked with Queensland Police on intervention leadership programmes. He’s aspired to develop a youth, family and community development centre in Northland, but then saw Police “as an organisation that was doing what I wanted to do already.”
• The Response Award (for demonstration of safe practices and tactical skills) was awarded to Constable Samuel Moffatt posted to Wellington.
Graduation will take place at The Royal New Zealand Police College on Thursday 22 October at 2.00pm. The ceremony will be attended by the Minister of Police, the Hon Michael Woodhouse, and Acting Police Commissioner Mike Clement, along with members of the police executive.
Please note the Wing Patron Sir Gordon will NOT be attending the actual graduation ceremony as he will be out of the country.
Media intending to be present at the graduation should plan to be onsite by 1.30pm.
Please direct all enquiries or intentions to attend to: Jillian Reid 021 947 003