Wing 358 patron Stacey Shortall, a respected lawyer and highly regarded leader, proudly watched her wing graduate from the Royal New Zealand Police College last week and spoke of her pride at their remarkable accomplishment.
“As constables you are going to find people in the pit of darkness wondering who to trust and fighting to survive,” she said. “Each of you will have the opportunity to help those people in the pit, help them out, to shine the light, to move them toward a more positive life.”
Stacey is well known for her Who Did You Help Today charitable trust, including homework clubs in primary schools and a programme connecting imprisoned mothers with their children.
“Take care of yourself, your colleagues, your whānau and friends. Take care of us in our communities, especially those who need to move out of the darkness.
“You will give your best with integrity, courage and care and with compassion. I see in you, the very best that the country has to offer. You will be remarkable.”
Leadership award winner Constable Matthew Rayner Nga Puhi, Ngāti Wharara (hapū), Ngāti Whatua, Te Uri o Hau (hapū), is bound for Central District.
Stacey’s wing has benefited from all the skills, experience and dedication she applies to helping others and her words rang true for Constable Matthew Rayner - Nga Puhi, Ngāti Wharara (hapū), Ngāti Whatua, Te Uri o Hau (hapū).
“My mission has been to help whānau within my community to move toward Tino Rangatiratanga or having the ability for whānau to choose their own destiny,” he says.
Matthew is originally from Northland but he’s made Whanganui his home and is keen to police the district.
“I am honoured to have shared this exciting journey with you all. It feels like it’s taken an age to get here but in hindsight it feels like we blinked and nearly missed it.
“I have often wondered whether I was too old to start this journey. However, if you are around my age or an older person thinking of joining, trust me you still have a lot you can offer the police whānau and I implore you to start the process and get running.”
Top of wing, and the recipient of the Minister’s prize, Constable George Littlejohn (pictured above) was previously a rifleman and then Military Police Intelligence in the New Zealand Army.
He’s very keen to get back to the district he grew up in and make a difference. His passion for fitness and his previous military intelligence skills will help him in his new role.
“Although the police recruitment process is long, it’s well worth it," he says. "College has given me life-long mates and memories. I grew up in the Wairarapa and it’s given me so much, so I can’t wait to get home and serve my community."
Constable Zersha Gilchrist, left, has been a mechanic, Corrections Officer, volunteer ambulance officer and Police Authorised Officer. She’s deployed to Bay of Plenty District. Constable Bridget Kiddle’s background in competitive sport is what steered her towards Police.
Constable Zersha Gilchrist says the reason she wanted to become a police officer was because of an interaction she had with a policewoman as a child.
"In my childhood years I didn’t have any good role models or people to look up to, so I became quite lost," she says. "That policewoman had a positive and influential influence in my life. She was the role model I had been looking for.
"It was from that moment on I told myself I was going to be a police officer so that I could be that same person in someone else’s life.”
Tasman District-bound Constable Bridget Kiddle played for the Black Sticks Women’s hockey team in 2016 and played in the English Women’s Premier Hockey League after that.
“The team and people-centric nature of policing is what makes me excited to wear the blue,” she says.
From left: Senior Sergeant Stu Oram, Sergeant Sam Oram, new constable Michael Oram and Senior Sergeant Johnny Oram.
It was a family affair for the Oram whānau at the graduation. Constable Michael Oram says with his dad, brother and uncle all in the job, he had a good idea of what he was getting himself into.
“I had always wanted to join Police at some point, growing up hearing Dad's ‘better work stories’,” he says.
“Before joining I had spent eight years as a Mission Support Analyst in the Royal New Zealand Airforce (RNZAF). I had the opportunity to work alongside Police on several occasions, the most rewarding being the contribution our unit had to the Whakaari White Island tragedy.
"The operations and exercises where I worked alongside Police just cemented my plan of joining, further.”
Michael is deployed to Central District where nearly all of his whānau are currently policing.
The newly graduated constables start their new careers in every district next week. No doubt they will be remarkable.
Minister’s Award recognising top student: Constable George Littlejohn, Wellington District
Patron’s Award for Second in Wing, recognising second top student: Constable Isaac Webb, Auckland City District
Commissioner’s Award for Leadership: Constable Mathew Rayner, Central District
Physical Training and Defensive Tactics Award: Constable George Littlejohn, Wellington District.
Driver Training and Road Policing Practice Award: Constable Sam Lennox, Central District.
Firearms Award: Constable Sam Lennox, Central District.
The wing will disperse to the following districts: Northland – 3, Waitematā – 4, Auckland City – 5, Counties Manukau – 9, Waikato – 4, Bay of Plenty – 4 , Eastern – 3, Central – 4, Wellington – 10, Tasman – 3, Canterbury – 5, Southern – 4.