Thursday, 16 February 2023 - 11:55am

'Be the best'

3 min read

News article photos (5 items)

Constables James Bowden (Ngāi Tahu), Roy Lewis (Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Kuri and Te Rarawa) and Constable Holly Cameron (Ngāti Porou).
Constable Scott Morrison making a speech to his fellow graduates.
Wing Patron Arihia Bennett inspecting the wing.
Constables Carina Doyle and Leah Hodges.
Constable Pena Junior Taumata his sister Santo.

Be the best wing since wings began - that was the encouragement Wing Patron Arihia Bennett gave the 54 recruits of Wing 362 when they started their training in October.

They have now graduated and have taken that advice into their first week in their districts - a wet and challenging week for many of them.

The 362 graduating wing recently celebrated the end of their initial training course in front of whānau and friends at the Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua.

Attending the ceremony was Commissioner of Police Andrew Coster, returning Minister for Police, Honourable Stuart Nash and the 362-wing patron Arihia Bennett, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Arihia Bennett (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Porou, Ngāpuhi).

Commissioner Coster welcomed everyone to the graduation congratulating the recruits on their outstanding work and readiness to serve on the front line, “trading in their regular citizenship to become constabulary members of the New Zealand Police”.

Constable Holly Cameron talking to media at her graduation.

Among those trading in their jobs as a regular citizen - and following in family footsteps - was former Police employee Constable Holly Cameron (Ngāti Porou). Holly’s mother is a detective in Central District, her father is a retired sergeant and Holly has worked in a variety of non-constabulary roles in Police.

“To finally be in blue, following in my parent’s footsteps is one of my proudest moments to date," she says. "I can’t wait to get on with the job."

Top of wing Constable James Bensley studied Sport and Recreation at Auckland University of Technology (AUT), then completed a post graduate diploma in teaching to become a physical education teacher in Kaitaia.

"Graduation day was the culmination of a lot of hard work and effort from the wing," he says.

"I was stoked to be presented with the Minister’s Award and felt privileged to be able to wear the Police Korowai. Now the real mahi begins.”

Constable James Bensley being presented with the korowai by Commissioner Andrew Coster
Constable James Bensley, seen here being presented with the Police korowai by Commissioner Andrew Coster, starts his career in Southern District this week.

Constable Scott Morrison, who received the Commissioner's Award for Leadership, worked a variety of jobs before joining the Army, a popular precursor to a Police career for many. He will be based in Central District. 

“Everyone here has helped each other in one way or another whether it be through exams, defensive tactics, paperwork or personal crisis," he said in his speech to the wing.

"This I feel is one of the most important attributes that we could take to our new police communities.

"Help each other. Don't change who you are as a person to fit this job, we are all here because of our unique skills – you are all amazing people. Bring a little bit of yourselves into this job.”

The eldest member of the wing, Constable Brett Ihaka (pictured below), brings significant life experience to start his new career. It was a challenge from his stepson, Linus Jakszt, that they should both apply to Police. It worked out well - Constable Linus Jakszt is now serving in Auckland after graduating from Wing 356 in July 2022.

Constable Brett Ihaka

Brett’s had a varied career, including managing a skateboard shop while living in Australia and training as a chef.

"I have travelled extensively, even working with the military overseas," he says. "I’ve worked as a caregiver for disability services, and as an Authorised Officer for Police, so policing seemed like a great fit.”

Constable Kelsey Geayley with her dad Shane Geayley (left) and uncle Garry Larsen (right).

Constable Kelsey Geayley is from a large police family. Her dad, Senior Constable Shane Geayley (pictured above, to the left of Kelsey), is one of the longest-serving members on the Eagle helicopter (Air Support Unit) and her uncle, Senior Sergeant Garry Larsen (pictured above, right) is OC Maritime Rescue Centre in Auckland.

Kelsey’s cousin is a skills coach at the Tāmaki Makaurau (TM) Tactical Training Centre and his wife is a detective constable working in Counties Manukau, so being surrounded by family is a nice way for Kelsey to start her career in Auckland. 


Some of the award winners with Patron Arihia Bennett.
Wing patron Arihia Bennett with award winners, from left, Constables Scott Morrison, James Bensley and Ashley Carter.

Minister’s Award, recognising top student – Constable James Bensley, Southern District.
Patron’s Award for Second in Wing, recognising second top student – Constable Ashley Carter, Counties Manukau District.
Commissioner’s Award for Leadership – Constable Scott Morrison, Central District.
Physical Training and Defensive Tactics Award – Constable Tyler Hamilton, Southern District.
Driver Training and Road Policing Practice Award – Constable Rodrigo dos Santos Mino, Waikato City District.
Firearms Award – Constable Vincent Pretorius, Central District.