Thursday, 19 October 2023 - 4:11pm |
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Wing 370 Graduation - more cops in, boots and all

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Wing 370 graduate from Royal NZ Police College

Police was the winner on the day when 53 new officers celebrated their success with whānau and friends when they graduated in front of Commissioner Andrew Coster, members of the police executive, and proud patron, retired police officer, and one of New Zealand’s greatest rugby referees – Paddy O’Brien ONZM.

Appropriately the wing is made up of sporting elite which includes New Zealand jockey Kate Cowan, football up-and-comer Ariana Gray, rower Logan Docherty and serendipitously - rugby player, coach and referee, also from the south – Georgia Mason. She will no doubt be seeking out specific advice from the wing patron.

Mr O’Brien said he was humbled by the invitation to be patron. “This has been a huge honour, so I’m thrilled to have had this responsibility.” 

Since leaving the Police, Mr O’Brien has forged a successful career as a rugby referee. He became the world’s first professional rugby referee and has been employed by World Rugby, so his advice and knowledge was no doubt a great help to the recruits during training.

The wing also includes dedicated volunteers members of the armed forces, and some who have been working for Police in other roles, such as Authorised Officers and Emergency Communicators. There are many graduates with tertiary educations and qualifications ideal for policing in Aotearoa. Some of the wing were born overseas so have a cache of different language skills and cultures to share.

The Leadership Award winner is American-born Constable Nicolas Benton. Nic hold a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Kinesiology and Sports Administration. “It’s an honour to be chosen as leader of this amazing group of people, which I have had the pleasure of working with over the last few weeks.  I look forward to heading to Canterbury district to get started in this challenging yet amazing career.”

The Minister’s Award for Top of Wing goes to Constable Christopher Clements. Prior to joining police, Chris was in the skydiving industry for 17 years and he became the CEO of multiple skydiving operations. He’s even jumped out of a plane riding a BMX.

Chris brings many useful skills to police – fitness, attention to detail, caution and the ability to deal with high pressure situations.
“The Police attracted me through the idea that what I would be doing in my working life would be making an impact on people for the better and I am thrilled to have that opportunity in this new job,” says Chris, who is posted to Bay of Plenty District.

The constable who achieved second in wing was Zachary Poulton, who is posted to Waitematā District. 

Patron: Paddy O’Brien

The patron role is set up to influence and guide the recruits to success throughout their training programme at The Royal New Zealand Police College (RNZPC). Mr O’Brien joined the recruits of Wing 370 at the official Powhiri on 3 July as they were welcomed to the police training programme.
Mr O’Brien joined Police as a 19-year-old in 1978 and served until 1995, retiring at the rank of Detective.

He told his wing at their pōwhiri:  “I want to be available to all of you to assist as needed, to be in the background as a sounding board when required, but mainly to assure you that the challenges you’ll face in the upcoming years have been faced by all those who have been before you. I want you to not fear the future; I want to help you embrace it and turn each and every challenge into an opportunity.”

The former Southland detective says he didn’t hesitate in saying yes to being patron of Wing 370. He’s always wanted to give something back to Police and this was a great way of doing so.

Minister’s Award recognising top student: Constable Christopher Clements, Bay of Plenty District.
Patron’s Award for Second in Wing, recognising second top student:  Constable Zachary Poulton, Waitematā District.
Commissioner’s Award for Leadership:  Constable Nicolas Benton, Canterbury District.
Driver Training and Road Policing Practice Award: Constable Adam Birchfield, Eastern District.
Firearms Award: Constable Jeremiah Nadonga, Waikato District.
Physical Training and Defensive Tactics Award: Constable Milo Faimalo, Wellington District.

The entire wing will disperse to the following districts the week starting Monday 30 October:

Tāmaki Makaurau a total of 14: Auckland City – 2, Counties Manukau – 8,  Waitematā - 4,
Northland - 4 Waikato – 5,  Bay of Plenty – 4, Eastern – 3, Central – 3, Wellington – 7, Tasman 2 Canterbury - 7, Southern – 4.


45.3 percent are female, and 54.7 percent are male. New Zealand European make up 58.5 percent of the wing, with Māori 11.3 percent, Pasifika 15.1 percent and Asian 7.5.


Local media will be supplied with stories of some new staff heading to their district. The Police Media Centre will be in touch with photographs and notes next week.

Also look out for a Ten One Magazine story that will be published on the Police website with more stories and photos about our recruits tackling work in their first week.


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