A group of potential police officers in Tairāwhiti are gaining strength from one another as they work towards fulfilling their dream of joining Police.
They meet three days a week in Gisborne to undertake fitness sessions in preparation for the physical challenges they must pass as part of their application to become a police officer.
Tairāwhiti Police Area Commander Sam Aberahama says the initiative started in July this year after they identified a need to support Police applicants in the recruiting pipeline.
The group is at various stages of the recruiting process, from being under way with their Police training online to just starting to apply, and say the group support is invaluable.
Police recruit Samantha Peters has just started her training online and is due to graduate in February next year and head to Wairoa. She says the opportunity to train and meet with other potential recruits has been incredible.
“Connecting with other people on the same journey was a saviour; I felt my drive towards my goals in Policing and fitness reignite," says Samantha.
"The fact that we could all meet three days a week, relate and share our own experiences was instrumental to enjoying the process."
Samantha introduced a whakataukī to the group which they recite before every training session to remind them they are in this together.
Ehara taku toa I te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini - My strength is not as an individual, but as a collective
Kayla Wilson starts her training next month, and initially joined the group to help get across the line with her final physical appraisal test (PAT) but says the group has given her so much more.
“It has given me the opportunity to build friendships with future colleagues, meet people already in Police and put faces to names,” says Kayla.
“I also feel my focus has shifted from needing motivation to now motivating others to achieve the common goal - the blue uniform!”
For those who haven’t yet secured a place at Police College, like Sheree Smith, the group sessions are providing valuable motivation.
“It’s great to have people in different stages of the process who can help and give advice on what to expect," says Sheree. "They give you the strength to carry on and believe you can do this."
The training is coordinated by Tairāwhiti Kaitakawaenga Constable Eve Tremain. Those attending the group sessions describe her as their rock.
Samantha says Eve has a supportive heart and a warm smile.
“I truly believe, everything Eve does, is always and only for our success. Whether it’s wearing a uniform to inspire us; parking a patrol car at the top of a hill for our sprints to motivate us; proofreading our answers to something extra recruitment are requesting; taking us to coffee to further get to know us; walking the boardwalk to ease our PAT anxiety on her day off; cutting into her whānau time just to ensure we are ready and confident - the list goes on.”
Tairāwhiti Area Commander Inspector Sam Aberahama says it’s fantastic to see everyone supporting each other.
“We are planning towards having 20 applicants ready to go to the Police College in 2022," he says. "A challenge that we will achieve together."