Every dog has its day – two new Police dog teams set to start

Two new police patrol dog teams are now fully trained up and ready to run after graduating from the New Zealand Police Dog Training Centre at Trentham today.

Auckland – Tāmaki Makaurau and Invercargill – Southern District benefit from the newly graduated teams.

Constable Mathew Morris from Auckland and his second dog, 20-month-old Ragner, whose name in Norse means warrior, have been training together for the last 18 months. Mat spent six years policing in his home district of Northland before moving to Auckland in 2020 to take up his dream job as a dog handler. Mat has thoroughly enjoyed training Ragner, who’s been a natural police dog from a young age he says. “He’s excited, like I am to get into work.”

Southern-based handler Constable Nic Ah Kuoi and his two-year-old dog Dax are also excited to be graduating and heading home to get started. Nic is graduating with his first operational dog, however he has extensive experience having worked in a variety of workgroups, most recently as a Public Safety Team (PST) supervisor after being promoted to sergeant in 2021.

Dax, who’s partial to a swim in the river on days off, and Nic have been training together since May last year. Nic is looking forward to the change from managing a team of staff, to managing just one staff member – a dog.

Deputy Commissioner – Frontline Operations, Tania Kura, congratulated the two new teams. “Congratulations to you both – it’s a proud day for you and thank you for your commitment to what is such an essential part of our style of policing in New Zealand,” she says. “As Mat, a returnee handler will already know, you will work in situations where you’ll experience challenges and risks, where you will be called on to use all your skills and your highly trained dog to resolve or help conclude those situations safely.

“You and your dogs are a critical component in our Tactical Response Model, with support from other specialists such as Armed Offenders Squad (AOS) qualified staff and the introduction of tactical dog team roles,” she says.

Inspector Todd Southall, National Coordinator Police Dogs, says the new teams have worked ardently in their districts and on all their formal courses to qualify as operational today.

“These teams have worked long and hard for this, and they will be real assets in their districts and the communities they serve.”

All our patrol dog teams play a crucial role in the way we police often unstable and precarious situations on the frontline. These dog teams are essentially a first call to action for the frontline.”

The graduation was attended by whānau and friends of the graduates as well as special guests, Acting Police Commissioner Juki Chew – Fiji Police, Senior Superintendent Ulaiasi Ravula – Fiji Police Director International Relations along with Senior Superintendent Luke Rogoyawa Seruwaqa – Officer Commanding Police Mobile Force (PMF).

Also in attendance were members of the New Zealand Police executive including Superintendent Glyn Rowland New Zealand Police Pacific Liaison Officer – Fiji and other members of The International Services Group.

/NZ Police Public Release. View in full here.