Seventy-eight new cops have completed their training for the frontline and will graduate on Thursday at the Royal New Zealand Police College.
Several of the wing know about the ups and downs of competitive sport, having represented New Zealand, but perhaps none better than trampoline gymnast Constable Sam Clarke.
Sam made the Olympic Training Squad for the 2016 Olympics.
Off the trampoline he’s got some good moves too, saying he can do a standing backflip.
He’s looking forward to an active and varied career in police.
Constable Melissa McMillan has represented New Zealand in judo, travelling to many countries to compete, but says the most rewarding moment was receiving her black belt.
Her job as a wool handler also saw Melissa travel across the world, but now her new challenge, she says, is to help make her community a safer place.
Meanwhile the eldest member of the wing, 50-year-old Constable Brian McFarlane has been a bodybuilding champion, pumping iron and pumping out titles such as Mr Natural Universe in 2017 and Mr New Zealand Bodybuilding Champion in 2002.
As a gym owner and personal trainer Brian helped many people achieve a healthier lifestyle and now is focused on being a positive influence in his community as a Police officer.
Constable Clarke will be posted to Counties Manukau District, while Constable McMillan will be working in Eastern District and Constable McFarlane in Waikato District.
Nearly one-third of the new constables have family connections to police, either in New Zealand or overseas.
Constable Jo Steedman is joining her husband Jeremy – a sergeant in Papakura – and her son Cameron, a constable who graduated earlier this month in an Auckland-based wing.
All three will be working in Counties Manukau District.
Jo says her husband has been a pivotal part of her decision to join Police.
“He loves his role in Police, and it’s thanks to him that I decided to give it a go.
"He has been so supportive of me joining.
“I know my son is also very proud of me graduating, as I am of him. He’s pretty happy to be a couple of weeks more senior than me!”
New Constable Saman Khalandi is one of eight members of the wing who are bilingual or multi-lingual.
Saman speaks Farsi and Kurdish.
He and his family came to New Zealand from Iraq as refugees in 1998 when Saman was four years old.
He says he calls Christchurch his home and loves being outdoors, hiking and keeping fit.
“Joining Police has been a dream of mine since I came to New Zealand, to give back to this country for the opportunity given to my family, coming from a war-torn country to this beautiful place.”
Constable Khalandi is posted to Canterbury District.
Acting Commissioner John Tims, other members of the Police Executive, Police Minister Hon Stuart Nash and wing patron Ranjna Patel ONZM, QSM, JP will also be present at the graduation ceremony on Thursday 26 September.
Ranjna Patel is a leader in the Auckland community who has committed herself to bringing quality, affordable health care to vulnerable groups and working to help reduce family harm in New Zealand.
Ranjna is a founding member of Gandhi Nivas, a family violence programme for men of all ethnicities.
New Zealand Police refers men who have either been issued with a Police Safety Order or are involved in family harm.
It offers free counselling, emergency housing, and referral to social services.
Ranjna’s extensive involvement in charitable and community groups saw her honoured with a Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) in 2009 and a New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in 2017.
She has been a Justice of the Peace and marriage celebrant since 1996.
She sits on several advisory boards including the Police Commissioner’s Ethnic Focus Forum and the Counties Manukau Police Advisory Board.
- Minister’s Award recognising top student – Constable Scott Bennison, Wellington District
- Patron’s Award, recognising second top student – Constable Nathan Campbell, Canterbury District
- Commissioner’s Award for Leadership – Constable Matthew Chapman, Counties Manukau District
- Physical Training and Defensive Tactics Award – Constable Codie McLeay, Central District
- Driver Training and Road Policing Practice Award – Constable Melinda Campbell, Wellington District
- Firearms Award – Constable Scott Bennison, Wellington District
The new constables will have a one-week break before starting duties in their districts. The wing is being dispersed as follows:
- Northland – 3
- Waitematā – 6
- Auckland – 7
- Counties Manukau – 10
- Waikato – 9
- Bay of Plenty – 5
- Eastern – 3
- Central – 7
- Wellington – 12
- Tasman – 1
- Canterbury – 9
- Southern – 6
Media are welcome to attend the Graduation Parade, which takes place at the Royal New Zealand Police College in Porirua.
The ceremony starts at 2pm on Thursday.
Any media wishing to attend the graduation should contact the Police Media Centre by 5pm Wednesday at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Issued by Police Media Centre