Fifty-six new constables from Wing 361 will have time to enjoy Christmas Day with friends and whānau and then put their training into practice on Boxing Day – their first day of duty.
Wing 361 graduated on 15 December at Te Rauparaha Arena, Porirua, in a ceremony peppered with highlights, high achievements and high spirits.
Prime Minister, Right Hon. Jacinda Ardern, Minister of Police, Hon. Chris Hipkins, Commissioner Andrew Coster and Wing Patron Dr Hinemoa Elder MNZM, (Te Aupōuri, Ngāti Kurī, Te Rarawa and Ngāpuhi), were in attendance, alongside other Police senior leaders and a large crowd of friends and whānau.
First in Wing was Constable Steven Young from Whangārei, posted to Northland. He also received the Driver Training and Road Policing Practice Award.
With a background in trade-related roles and administration, Steven says he wanted a career that would challenge him as a person and allow him to grow and improve.
“Self-improvement is something we should always work on,” he says.
“I wanted to enter into a career and journey I could be proud of, and one where I could make a positive difference in our communities.”
Wellington-based Constable Angus Brown took the Commissioner’s leadership award. Before joining Police he spent 10 years working in the security industry and has worked as a skydiving instructor and coach in New Zealand and Denmark.
“Over the years I’ve discovered a passion for helping others and for teaching/developing others,” says Angus. “I thrive in an engaging and challenging environment and I’m looking forward to the road ahead in my career with New Zealand Police.”
In his speech on behalf of the wing he reminded his fellow graduates to never forget the 'why' they joined Police. "That is our 'Be First, Then Do'," he said.
Addressing the ceremony, the Prime Minister said she was speaking not as PM but as the daughter of a police officer, Ross Ardern, who graduated from Trentham in 1974 and retired 40 years later in 2013 as a detective superintendent.
“When he started out as a new constable, it was a completely different era for Police and policing, but the motivation remains the same - to make a difference for New Zealand,” she said.
She recounted stories of growing up and the pride she had in her father’s chosen profession - and the pride the recruits could have both in themselves and among their friends and family.
“This is your day, but I know it’s very much a day for the many proud family members in attendance as well,” she said.
“I know how deep the pride is that you must feel. For a member of your family to be going into service for a country, to be acting on behalf of a community, to be dedicating a professional career to the safe keeping of fellow New Zealanders… it is indeed a very deep pride.”
Wing Patron Dr Hinemoa Elder gave an inspiring speech about policing, using the analogy of paddling together in a waka.
“You have told me that the heart of what you have learnt in your training is that working together, working in a connected and coordinated way, is critical to fulfilling your purpose as members of Police,” Dr Elder said.
“This is the power of hoe tahi. Paddling together. Without that sense of unity, the waka could just go round and round in circles, be unbalanced, even capsize.
“The training is at an end. Now for the real thing. New levels of responsibility begin to sink in."
She spoke of the inner tides, Tangaroa ā roto, flowing with currents of uncertainty as to what might be ahead.
“I salute your courage. Thank you in advance for all the challenges you will face, for the lives you will save, for your tears, and your guts to do the right thing, in the right way. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou.”