Rugby legend Sir Brian Lochore, who died on Saturday, is remembered as a recruit wing patron with a commanding presence and great mana.
When the 48 members of Wing 138 graduated in 1993, their patron Sir Brian told them he felt welcome and “very comfortable” at The Royal New Zealand Police College (RNZPC).
In his message to the wing he said he was particularly impressed with their teamwork.
“Considering the variety of your past occupations and backgrounds, it is remarkable how well you work together.”
One of the wing’s instructors, Retired Sergeant Alan Richards, remembers Sir Brian as an inspirational speaker who had a presence that commanded attention.
“When he spoke, everyone listened,” says Alan.
Several Wing 138 members are still in Police, and describe Sir Brian as a patron who was down-to-earth and an excellent role model.
“I remember being quite awed when he shook my hand at the graduation parade,” says Kristen Braae, a Taskforce Support administration officer at Police National Headquarters (PNHQ).
“It was great that we had such an outstanding person for our patron – not just because he was an All Black, but because he had such a wonderful mana.”
Sergeant Andrew Heffey, Initial Training Instructor at the RNZPC, recalls the ongoing friendly rivalry between Sir Brian and his good mate and fellow All Black Sir Colin Meads.
“Brian was always quite happy to remind Colin that he’d got his patronship for Wing 138 – but it took Colin until Wing 225,” says Andrew.
Sir Brian was an All Black from 1963 to 1971 and All Black captain from 1966 to 1970. He later coached the All Blacks to success in the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987. He was knighted in 1999 for his services to sport and the community.
As well as being a wing patron, Sir Brian contributed his leadership and team-building skills to Police leadership training programmes, and is said to have been a great supporter of police in his Wairarapa community.
Commissioner Mike Bush says Sir Brian has influenced his own leadership journey.
“It’s been said before but it’s true that Sir Brian Lochore was a true tōtara in every sense of the word,” he says.
“Sir Brian addressed and attended a whole day of my Sergeants Qualifying Course. He left a lasting impression on me about the principles of leadership and really role-modelled what it means to be a great leader."
General Manager Training Superintendent Scott Fraser says patrons are chosen to share their wisdom, knowledge and skills to help their recruits grow into effective and respected police officers.
“Sir Brian epitomises the ideal patron," says Scott. "He was someone who had vast experience as a coach, mentor and leader, and was a gifted communicator. Police is lucky to have patrons of Sir Brian’s calibre.”
Sir Brian's funeral was held yesterday (Thursday 8 August) in Masterton.