Friday, 7 October 2022 - 2:08pm

Pacific Dog Handlers welcomed

2 min read

News article photos (2 items)

Dog Handlers from Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and French Polynesia being welcomed to the Dog Training Centre in Trentham.
Group shot of the Fijian Police singing at the pōwhiri.

A pōwhiri was held at the New Zealand Police Dog Training Centre as part of the Fiji Police Partnership Programme, Pacific Detector Dog Programme and French Polynesia Detector Dog Support initiative.

Attendees include eight Fiji Police Patrol Dog Handlers and supervisors, and six Narcotic Detector Dog Handlers and supervisors from Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and French Polynesia.

As part of New Zealand Police’s commitment to providing support to Fiji Police Force (FPF) through the Fiji Police Partnership Programme, the goal for this assignment is “improved security outcomes in Fiji through effectively upholding the rule of law”. 

The Pacific Detector Dog Programme (PDDP) is a New Zealand Aid programme between the Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, New Zealand Police and the New Zealand Customs Service, and officially started in 2018.

The overarching goal of the PDDP is to support the Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga to build safe and secure borders.

The French Polynesia detector dog support is a positive move forward in the relationship between New Zealand, France and French Polynesia agencies.

The pōwhiri was held in beautiful spring weather (much to the delight of our Pacific colleagues who are unused to our changeable temperatures!) at the Dog Training Centre in Trentham, with speakers from both sides and some beautiful waiata and cultural singing.

The Fiji Patrol Dog Pacific Handlers will be here until 4 November 2022 before returning to Fiji along with Senior Advisor Wally Kopae who will then continue to mentor the team. The narcotic handlers remain in New Zealand until 25 November 2022.

Inspector Todd Southall, National Coordinator - Police Dogs,  was impressed by the feeling of manaakitanga at the event.

“It was a touching occasion and there was positive feedback from all the handlers," he says.

"It was a really relaxed yet very connected pōwhiri, and I think beyond the fact that it’s great for our organisations to be working in partnership, it just felt like a very special moment for everyone present.”

With cold fronts seeming to blast us somewhat regularly, Todd says some guests are struggling to adapt.

“There have been a number of head colds being reported, but with the addition of some beanies and polyprops, they’re now managing pretty well.”