Monday, 17 July 2023 - 10:29am

Once more, with passion

6 min read

News article photos (6 items)

Brothers and Constables Maelega Lilo and Savali Maelega Lilo.
Wing 367 on parade.
The patron inspecting Wing 367.
First in Wing Constable Alexander Kerr saluting while wearing the RNZPC korowai.
Wing 367 throwing their hats in the air after the parade is dismissed.
Wing 367 haka.

There’s the Police family, and there are police families - and the graduation of Wing 367 was a case in point.

The 77 new constables celebrated the end of their initial training with whānau and friends at their graduation and attestation ceremony at Te Rauparaha Arena, Porirua on 29 June before joining their districts in July.

Constable Maelega Lilo was proud to be awarded the Commissioner’s Award for Leadership - just like his brother Savali Maelega Lilo when he won it as he graduated last year with Wing 350.

Savali was on hand to see his brother graduate - and to hear him make the customary Leadership Award-winner’s speech.

“Last year, I remember my brother standing up here doing his speech, talking about the powers - the powers to serve, and the powers to protect our community,” said Maelega from the dais.

“But today, I want to go a step further than my brother - I want to talk about passion.

“Without passion with what we do, we will not be able to serve our communities to the best of our abilities. We tend to be more resilient with passion.

"With passion we can make positive change for the better and with passion we can make the impossible possible.”

Maelega - who has joined Savali on the front line in Counties Manukau - is certainly passionate about serving his community, having worked with young people and adults in Corrections, the Ministry of Justice and Oranga Tamariki.

Among those attending the ceremony were Commissioner Andrew Coster, Minister Kiri Allan, representing Police Minister Ginny Andersen, and Wing 367 Patron Gráinne Moss.

The speakers included Commissioner Andrew Coster, Patron Gráinne Moss and Minister Kiri Allan. 
The speakers included Commissioner Andrew Coster, Patron Gráinne Moss and Minister Kiri Allan.

If it was a repeat performance for the Lilo brothers, the same applied for Gráinne - she was patron of Wing 308 in 2017 and stepped in when 367’s original patron had to withdraw.

“I got a lot out of being a wing patron for Wing 308,” she said. “I learnt a lot about policing and a lot about life because the people that make up the wings, especially wing 308 and now 367, are a special bunch of people.

“Let us not forget that your role goes beyond policing. You are advocates for justice, and beacons of hope for all of us. You are not alone on your journey, you are here with a brotherhood and sisterhood, so lean on them if you need to.”

Constable Alexander Kerr (Waikato) also doubled up, receiving the Minister’s Award for First in Wing and the Firearms award.

He has a bachelor’s degree majoring in psychology and political science, previously worked as a sharemilker and a carpenter and has volunteered for the Special Olympics as a swimming coach.

“Joining Police has always been my foremost ambition and I am proud to have finally achieved it,” he says. “I’m looking forward to returning to my home in Hamilton to serve my city, and all of New Zealand.”

Constables Eva Forrest-Chambers and Teddy Walters - and the newspaper cutting of Teddy's ambition as a six-year-old. 
Constables Eva Forrest-Chambers and Teddy Walters - and the newspaper cutting of Teddy's ambition as a six-year-old. 

Other wing members told of their hard work to be accepted as a recruit. Constable Eva Forrest-Chambers (Northland) - at 18 the youngest of the graduates - worked in the COVID-19 Response Team as a Community Health Care Worker before joining Police.

“My training at Police College has been one of most challenging things I’ve done, but it has been so rewarding,” she says. “My advice would be to ‘just do it’ if you want to join Police. It’s all shaping up to be a great career.”

Eva is a rugby player - she represented Northland in the Farah Palmer Cup in the 2022 season. “Rugby will always be a part of my life and I am itching to get back into it.”

Another rugby player is Constable Teddy Walters (Ngati Kahangunu ki te Wairoa, Ngati Porou), who has played for Hawke’s Bay and Poverty Bay.

He’s one of 11 children and moved around a lot with his family and with CYF (now Oranga Tamariki) but says rugby and a building apprenticeship helped him succeed in life.

“I made the newspaper when I was six years old - it was just a question that was going around the classroom of ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’

“I replied: ‘I want to be a police officer’. And my nan still has that newspaper clipping.”

Teddy has started his career in Eastern District, and his six-year-old self would approve.

Constables Shayna Huhu, Joshua Kelly and Hannah Soli. 
L-R: Constables Shayna Huhu, Joshua Kelly and Hannah Soli.

Family is central for Constable Shayna Huhu (Ngā Ariki Kaiputahi - Eastern): “I was a teen mother and was very lucky to have a village around me while I was bringing up my now 10-year-old son.

“My son ended up being a big driver for me coming to college and making sure I got through. So, this is a journey not only for me but for my family too.”

Shayna had worked with ‘at-risk' youth since she was 18, coordinating after-school youth programmes at her local skate park, residential care work and most recently mentoring at an alternative education service.

Constable Joshua Kelly, raised in South Auckland but posted to Bay of Plenty, credits his parents for giving him the will to overcome peer pressure and distractions in an environment where education is often not a priority.

“Before joining Police, I worked as a probation officer for the Department of Corrections, so this career change is the next step in my life to get me where I truly believe I can make a difference,” he says.

Constable Hannah Soli (Canterbury) says she picked up valuable skills working for Oranga Tamariki for 11 years, mainly in residential settings; fostering two teenage girls and raising her own daughter, who’s now six.

“It wasn't until I transformed my life by losing around 85kg over 18 months that I began to believe I could become a police officer,” she says.

“The time and dedication it took to keep this weight off for five years showed me nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it.

“I encourage all women to join Police, and in particular Pasifika women or anyone who feels they may never be able to achieve their dreams. It is possible if you start by taking the first step and believing in yourself.”

About Wing 367


Top award winners, from left: Constables Alexander Kerr, Maelega Lilo and Andrew Best. 
Top award winners, from left: Constables Alexander Kerr, Maelega Lilo and Andrew Best.

Prime Minister’s Award recognising top student - Constable Alexander Kerr (Waikato). Alexander is also the recipient of the Firearms Award.

Patron’s Award for Second in Wing - Constable Andrew Best (Waitematā)

Commissioner’s Award for Leadership - Constable Maelega Lilo (Counties Manukau)

Physical Training and Defensive Tactics Award - Constable Brendan Asomua-Goodman (Auckland City)

Driver Training and Road Policing Practice Award - Constable Pieter Swarts (Waitematā)


Members join their districts this week (starting Monday 10 July) as follows:

Northland - 4, Auckland City - 7, Counties Manukau - 11, Waitematā - 4, Waikato - 6, Bay of Plenty - 4, Eastern - 12, Central - 8, Wellington - 8, Tasman - 2, Canterbury - 5, Southern - 6.


35.1% of members are female, and 64.9% are male. New Zealand European make up 70.1% of the wing, with Māori 13%, Pasifika 9.1%, Asian 6.5% and Latin American, African and Middle Eastern (LAAM/other) 1.3%.

Who's the patron? 

Gráinne Moss’ career spans more than 30 years in the public and private sectors in the UK, Switzerland and New Zealand. She is currently a System Lead for Pay Equity at the Public Service Commission. She’s formerly the Chief Executive of the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki and previously spent nine years with Bupa Care Services New Zealand as Managing Director and General Manager Care Services.

Gráinne has a BSc (Hons) in Human Anatomy and Biology from the University of Liverpool and an MBA (Hons) from IMD Switzerland where she was presented with an award for the outstanding female graduate.

She emigrated to New Zealand in the late 1990s. She is an accomplished long-distance swimmer and was the first Irish woman to swim the English Channel and Cook Strait.