Patron Viv Rickard had some aspirational advice for Wing 364 when they began their training journey to become police officers, back in November.
“You will have the privilege to represent New Zealanders and all their different backgrounds, cultures and intellects,” Viv – formerly Deputy Commissioner Rickard, told the then-new recruits.
“You’ll help them be better and keep them safer and you’ll do it through exceptional policing. Not average policing, not good policing, but exceptional policing.”
Viv (Ngāti Porou, Te Arawa and Ngāti Whare) was on hand at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua, alongside the wing members’ proud whānau and friends, to see the 59 graduate from their initial training.
He picked up on his theme from day one, telling the wing exceptional policing meant being able to be fair and reasonable, to engage, communicate, listen to and care for their communities. “These men and women have this,” he said.
“I’m really proud of you, Wing 364, that each of you has made it here today. Each of you should be proud of the work you put in.”
Also among those attending the ceremony were Commissioner Andrew Coster and Police Minister Ginny Andersen.
Commissioner Coster welcomed everyone to the graduation, congratulating the recruits on their outstanding work and readiness to serve on the front line.
“You have done outstanding work to be here today, ready to serve on the frontline and embark on an awesome career. You will be vested with powers other New Zealanders do not have and those powers are considerable.
“These powers are vested in you by the people of New Zealand. These are the communities we serve and with whose consent we police to keep our country safe. I ask you to never lose sight of that, as all New Zealanders deserve the best service possible from their police service/."
Constable Amanda Wilson, pictured above, received the Commissioner’s Award for Leadership and joins Counties Manukau District this week. Amanda is the first Pasifika woman to receive the leadership award since 2018, when Constable Shayna Tapusoa (Wing 319) won the leadership award.
Before joining Police, Amanda previously worked as a flight attendant and is currently studying for her bachelor’s degree majoring in psychology and minoring in rehabilitation studies, through Massey University. She acknowledged that it was a great honour and privilege to receive the leadership award.
“When I look at our wing, I see leaders among you all. You don’t need an award to be a leader within your communities, remember that.
"I hope you all know that I am so proud of each and every one of you and all of the obstacles we’ve had to overcome.”
Constable Christian Merten, pictured above, received the Minister’s prize for top or first in wing and the Physical Training and Defensive Tactics Award.
Christian has a Bachelor of Science, and a Bachelor of Laws. He worked as a lawyer, specialising in family, privacy and employment law before deciding to join Police. His interests are martial arts, hiking and music and he’s fluent in German after living there for a time as a young person.
“I am honoured to have achieved this award,” says Christian. “I will look forward to going to work each day, in the knowledge that the role I perform makes a real difference to people.
"I was thrilled to be presented with the Minister’s Award and felt privileged to be able to wear the Police Korowai at our graduation.”
Christian is joining Wellington District.
Second in wing, and the recipient of the Patron’s prize is Constable Mitchell Wheatley, pictured above. He has previously been a dairy farmer and worked in the construction sector before deciding to try on the blue uniform.
Mitchell follows his father Andy Wheatley (Wing 177), a retired Christchurch-based dog handler into policing. Mitchell’s sister, Danielle Wheatley, (Wing 339) is also policing in Christchurch where Mitchell is also starting his policing career.
Minister’s Award recognising top student – Constable Christian Merten, Wellington District.
Patron’s Award for Second in Wing, recognising second top student – Constable Mitchell Wheatley, Canterbury District.
Commissioner’s Award for Leadership – Constable Amanda Wilson, Counties Manukau District.
Physical Training and Defensive Tactics Award – Constable Christian Merten, Wellington District.
Driver Training and Road Policing Practice Award – Constable Navajo Prentice, Canterbury District.
Firearms Award – Constable Tierney Horler, Southern District.
Wing Patron Viv Rickard joined New Zealand Police in 1985 and served as a District Commander in Northland and Auckland. Subsequent roles included Deputy Commissioner District Operations, Deputy Commissioner Resource Management, Assistant Commissioner Special Operations and Assistant Commissioner Operations, Crime and Investigations. Viv was also in charge of Child, Youth and Family before its change to Oranga Tamariki. He is now a Deputy Chief Executive in the Ministry of Social Development where he oversees employment, income and housing delivery throughout New Zealand.