Friday, 11 February 2022 - 10:15am

New frontline officers coming to a place near you

6 min read

News article photos (10 items)

Wing 350 line up
Three members of the wing singing the National Anthem.
Patron Dr Yvonne Crichton-Hill and Commissioner Coster inspect the wing.
Minister of Police handing an ID card to Constable Harpreet Singh.
Commissioner Coster presents the Leadership Award to Constable Savali Maelega Lilo.
Constable Mandy Lardenoye receives her Award for Second in Wing from the patron.
Commissioner Coster places the korowai around the shoulders of Constable Taylor Barker, top of the wing.
Sergeant Chris Blanchard leads the Colour Party off his final graduation parade. Chris has instructed wings since 2006 and in th
The wing performed an almighty haka, stirringly led by Constable Te Pukenui Hauwaho.
The recruits with their arms wrapped around each other.

Eighty new frontline officers are joining the ranks with Wing 350 graduates posted to every Police district.

The new constables begin their district duty on 14 February. They have been part of a highly diverse wing that has enjoyed their time training together – online initially and then face to face.

Constable Savali Maelega Lilo, posted to Auckland City District, received the Leadership Award at the graduation.

Savali says he is a proud Samoan who grew up in South Auckland and has been working with youth for the past 10 years.

“Service has been a big part of my life. I am very passionate about working alongside people and serving my family, my community, my church and my culture.

“My work with youth has given me a wide view of what has been happening in our communities and families, and this has driven me to become a police officer.”

The award recognised Savali’s leadership skills, positive mindset and his ability to unite and encourage those around him.

At the graduation he spoke of the memorable milestone of attestation, part of an equally memorable speech.

Savali spoke about growing up in South Auckland, witnessing violence and crime, and helping his parents clean the cells at the Manukau District Court.

He says he would see offenders come into the cells and he would think to himself:

“What can I do to help them? What can I do to prevent this? What can I do to make a difference and stop them from getting locked up? What can I do to make my parents not clean their mess anymore?”

Part of the answer lies in using the Police powers "to serve ... to show love and compassion ... to protect our communities ... to show hope in a world full of uncertainty and darkness ... to help and prevent people from getting locked up and lead them in the right direction in life."

Constables Mandy Lardenoye, Savali Maelega Lilo and Taylor Barker.
From left: Constables Mandy Lardenoye, Taylor Barker and Savali Maelega Lilo.

Minister’s Award recipient and top of the wing, Constable Taylor Barker, represents New Zealand in lacrosse and is currently training hard to compete in the 2022 Women’s Lacrosse World Cup.

Taylor has played lacrosse internationally since she was 15 and won a scholarship to a US university to play the sport while completing a Bachelor of Science with Honours. The pandemic brought her back to New Zealand where she worked at a transitional housing and family support centre for vulnerable families while going through the recruitment process.

“I have always wanted to be a cop, but I wanted to play lacrosse overseas first,” she says.

One of her former coaches – Senior Sergeant Grainne “G” Scott – helped to cement the idea: “G told me some awesome stories about policing, which drew me even more to this career.”

On her part in Taylor’s journey into Police, G says she’s thrilled to have inspired her.

“Taylor has always been incredible and it’s just fantastic that she’s done so well. She’s always been dedicated and committed to not only doing her best, but supporting those around her to do the same. It’s fantastic to see her hard work recognised and we are lucky to have her in New Zealand Police.”

Taylor is posted to Waitematā District alongside Constable Mandy Lardenoye, who received the Patron’s Award for second in wing.

Mandy says she’s a first generation New Zealander with both her parents having emigrated from The Netherlands in the 1980s. She grew up speaking both Dutch and English.

She completed a Bachelor of Science, a Post-graduate Diploma and a Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology before working as a Respiratory Physiologist. She is also a volunteer surf lifeguard and fosters rescue dogs.

“I’ve joined Police because of my love of people and the desire to make a difference in and give back to my community,” she says.

“I welcome opportunities to experience something unique and be challenged every day in my work, and I can’t wait to get stuck in!”

Constables Mandy Lardenoye and Nathan Liu. 
Constables Mandy Lardenoye and Nathan Liu.

The graduation took place during Chinese Lunar New Year and if anyone’s capable of making a cake to celebrate the festive season it’s Constable Nathan Liu, posted to Bay of Plenty District.

Originally from China, Nathan has been working as a pastry chef in New Zealand. He won Pastry Chef of the Year in 2016 in a New Zealand nationwide hospitality competition and has honed his skills in chocolate sculpting, celebration cake decorating and sugar showpiece display.

Nathan has dreamed of being a police officer since he was young, and says he’s joined New Zealand Police “to contribute to the country where I’m living, to be a useful person for this country, society and community.”

Graduating during the Chinese New Year is ‘the icing on the cake’.

“It’s a special time for me graduating in the Chinese New Year time. It’s special for my family as well, and we will celebrate together when I get back home.”

Check out some of Nathan's creations below...

Nathan Liu with some of his show-stopping creations from his days as a pastry chef.

Constable Maia Wilson-Menehira (Tainui, Ngāti Koroki Kahukura), posted to Waitematā District, is a māma to a young whānau in Tāmaki Makaurau, so training at the Police College has been a bitter sweet experience.

Before becoming a mother Maia worked as a forklift operator and before that in an open-cut mine in Australia, operating dump trucks and graders, but her life-long dream – now fulfilled – was to become a police officer.

“This haerenga I am on in Ngā Pirihimana o Aotearoa is to show not only my own tamariki and siblings, but all Māori and Pasifika rangatahi in particular that we can achieve our dreams and set an example for our whānau by helping our communities

“I am so excited to have graduated and cannot wait to get out there and in my community and give this career everything I’ve got.”

Constables Maia Wilson Menehira and Joseph Price
Constables Maia Wilson Menehira and Joseph Price

Whānau is also important to Constable Joey Price, who says his brothers are his role models, including Detective Constable Raphael (also known as Ralph) Price. While Raphael works in Wellington, Joey will be posted to Auckland City District.

Joey is an ex-Vodafone Warriors rugby league player (2012 to 2016) and played for the Sunshine Coast Falcons from 2019 to 2020.

“Once Ralph joined the Police back in 2010, I remember him being recognised for his work within the community and making a difference,” says Joey.

“I have now been given the opportunity to create my own experiences with Police and I hope to do the same.

"I’m hoping to create pathways for people who have had trouble in life, giving them an opportunity to change for the better.

“Team work will be a strong point for me, as I’ve been in a footy environment since the age of 6, and being part of the police camaraderie is something I am definitely looking forward to.”

Wing patron Dr Yvonne Crichton-Hill says she’s immensely proud of the wing and considers herself fortunate to be their patron.

At the graduation ceremony she spoke about it being a day to “celebrate the courage, tenacity and resilience of every member of Wing 350.”

Dr Crichton-Hill is highly regarded for her social work and family harm research and expertise. As a senior lecturer in social work and head of department at the University of Canterbury, her research focuses on intimate partner violence and family violence, and she also explores culturally responsive social work practice with a focus on Pacific communities.

She supports Police as an advisor to Commissioner Coster on his National Pacific Advisory Forum, which guides Police’s Pasifika national strategy.


Minister’s Award recognising top student – Constable Taylor Barker, Waitematā District

Patron’s Award for Second in Wing, recognising second top student – Constable Mandy Lardenoye, Waitematā District

Commissioner’s Award for Leadership – Constable Savali Maelega Lilo, Auckland City District

Physical Training and Defensive Tactics Award – Constable Michael Wallace, Waikato District

Driver Training and Road Policing Practice Award; and Firearms Award – Constable Jackson Sinclair, Waikato District


The wing is being dispersed to districts as follows, starting duty on 14 February.  

Northland – 1, Waitematā – 15, Auckland City – 13, Counties Manukau – 12, Waikato – 6, Bay of Plenty – 6, Eastern – 4, Central – 4, Wellington – 8, Tasman – 1, Canterbury – 7, Southern – 3

Wing demographics

Female 36.3%; male 63.8%; NZ European 56.3%; Māori 20%; Pacific 12.5%; Asian 10% and LAAM 1.3%.