News from NZ Police
Seventy-six new constables will graduate from The Royal New Zealand Police College in Porirua today. One of them is Constable Tone Kopelani, the former Crusader and Hurricane, who has been wanting to be a police officer for many years, but his skill in rugby took him in a different direction.
“Rugby took over my life for about 11 years, while I played for the Crusaders and Hurricanes and played in France over four seasons for club CS Bourgoin-Jallieu.”
“But I’ve always wanted to be a police officer, to be able to make a positive change in someone’s life is what I am most looking forward to”.
Constable Kopelani worked as an Authorised Officer at Christchurch Police Station prior to coming to Police College and has won the Prevention Award for frontline skills and prevention practices.
Fellow Cantabrian and former Authorised Officer, Constable Paige Jackman has taken out overall honours winning the Minister’s Award for First in Wing. Constable Jackman also won the Mobility and Technology Award.
Constable Jackman holds Bachelor of Laws from Canterbury University and was admitted to the Bar in 2011.
She says that she really enjoyed the Investigative Interviewing component of her training and one day aspires to work in a child protection team.
Constables Kopelani and Jackman have been posted to Canterbury District.
Carving out a new career
Constable Chu Cheng Chueh has taken out three awards including the Commissioner’s Award for Second in Wing and the Response Award for tactical skills and safe practices.
Born in Taiwan, Constable Chueh credits his love of surfing, travel and photography for leading him to a police career where each day brings different challenges.
“After graduating from university I moved to Hawaii where I worked as a freelance photographer and carved out the waves on the Island of Maui. On a trip home I was offered the opportunity to travel to Thailand and Cambodia for a short-term mission with an organisation that specialised in working to abolish child sex-slavery.
“Following the mission my mind was set on becoming a police officer, to become part of an organisation that strives to make a difference in society both here in New Zealand and on a global scale.”
As a freelance photographer Constable Chueh has worked with members of the All Blacks, Black Caps and Silver Ferns.
He has been posted to Waitematā District.
Constable Samuel Green has taken out the Patron’s Award for third overall and the Driver Training and Road Policing Practice Award. He says he always knew he would become a police officer after growing up in a police environment.
“My mum worked in the watchhouse at the local community station and the local police officers were my idols. One officer in particular, the late Senior Constable Len Snee, spent a lot of time with me and my family. He was an outstanding officer and one day I hope to be as respected as he was.”
Constable Green holds a Bachelor of International Business and Economics from Otago University, played rugby for Otago development squad and represented New Zealand in the U17 cycle squad in the Tour of Australia. He has been posted to Eastern District.
A dream fulfilled at forty
Constable Shannon Heney never lost sight of her dream to become a police officer and now, at age 40, she’s made it.
“I am the eldest of 10 children so being one of the more ’senior’ members of the wing wasn’t too daunting.”
Constable Heney wanted to join Police since her teens and applied in her 20’s, but discovered that her swimming ability wasn’t at the required level. Not to be discouraged she took swimming lessons and continued on the recruitment process.
“Sadly my father was tragically killed in a helicopter accident before I could complete the recruitment process and I decided to put things on hold and moved closer to my mother so I could help with my younger siblings and be close to my family.”
“It took a while for life to take on a sense of normality again, all the while I never lost sight of wanting to be a police officer so I reapplied.”
Constable Heney, a former West Coast hockey and rugby league representative, says she has enjoyed the physical aspects of the training.
“My advice is that you are never too old to follow your dreams. Hopefully my story will inspire others to follow theirs.”
Constable Heney jointly won the Physical Training and Defensive Tactics award and is being posted to Tasman District.
There is an international flavour to the wing with members’ countries of birth including Korea, South Africa, Taiwan, Singapore, United Kingdom, Holland, France, Fiji, Philippines, Russia, Samoa and the United States.
Wing 284 members have been posted to the following districts: Northland (2), Waitematä (9), Auckland (11), Counties Manukau (11), Waikato (7), Bay of Plenty (4), Eastern (3), Central (7), Wellington (4), Tasman (5), Canterbury (9), Southern (4).
Wing 284 award winners:
• Minister’s Award for First in Wing was awarded to Constable Paige Jackman, posted to Canterbury. Constable Jackman was also awarded the Mobility and Technology Award (for information technology use and file preparation).
• Commissioner’s Award for Second in Wing was awarded to Constable Chu Cheng Chueh, posted to Waitematä. Constable Chueh was also awarded the Response Award (for tactical skills and safe practices), and was jointly awarded the Physical Training and Defensive Tactics Award (for physical training and defensive tactics skills).
• Patron’s Award for Third in Wing was awarded to Constable Samuel Green, posted to Eastern. Constable Green was also awarded the Driver Training and Road Policing Practice Award (for driving skills and safe road policing practices).
• The Leadership Award (in recognition of outstanding potential to lead self and others) was awarded to Constable Nathan Walter, posted to Eastern. This award is supported by the Porirua City Council. Constable Walter was also awarded the Section Four Section Achievement Award.
• The Prevention Award (for frontline skills and prevention practices) was awarded to Constable Tone Kopelani, posted to Canterbury. This award is supported by the Crimestoppers Trust.
• The Academic Award (for academic achievement) was awarded to Constable Harley Eruera, posted to Auckland.
• The Physical Training and Defensive Tactics Award (for physical training and defensive tactics skills) was jointly awarded to Constable Shannon Heney, posted to Tasman, and Constable Chu Cheng Chueh (see above).
• The Firearms Training Award (for firearms skills and safe practices) was awarded to Constable Carly Taiaroa, posted to Central.
Police Association Prizes for Section Achievement:
This prize is awarded to an individual from each section who, in the collective view of the members of the section and the wing instructors, made the greatest contribution to the overall success of the team.
• Section One Constable William Atkinson, posted to Southern.
• Section Two Constable Edward Gardiner, posted to Bay of Plenty.
• Section Three Constable Cara-Lee Moore, posted to Counties-Manukau.
• Section Four Constable Nathan Walter, posted to Eastern.
Graduation will take place at The Royal New Zealand Police College at 2:00pm. The ceremony will be attended by the Police Commissioner Mike Bush, Patron Rob Fyfe and Rob’s partner Sara Tetro.