Wing 371 Graduation – new cops for Christmas

Police welcomed 62 officers to the front line today. The wing celebrated their success with whānau and friends in front of Commissioner Andrew Coster, Police Minister Hon Mark Mitchell, members of the police executive, and proud patron Dame Therese Walsh DNZM.

Dame Therese said she was humbled by the invitation to be patron. “I challenge each of you to embrace the things that make you different… embrace your diversity, embrace your difference and be you.”

This wing is made up of a number of police families – especially sisters. Northland Police welcomed a third sister into the police whānau today as Constable Chanel Ruri follows in the footsteps of her sisters Briahn and Geneva, who are also frontline. Chanel says, “I am here for my daughter and my extended family. I want to help contribute to a safer community for my daughter to live in.” Chanel, who is ex Royal New Zealand Navy will be based in Northland like her sisters.

The wing includes not only former armed services like Chanel, but dedicated volunteers, and some who have been working for Police in other roles, such as Authorised Officers and Emergency Communicators. There are many graduates with tertiary education and a vast range of trade qualifications.

The Leadership Award winner is Constable James Cooney, who says that joining police has always been a dream of his. James has worked in finance and accounting industries and returned to New Zealand last year to pursue his policing dream. “I chose policing because it’s been an ambition ever since high school. I’ve received a lot of support from the various communities I’ve lived in over the years and policing is the perfect job to be able to give back,” he says.

James will be based in Bay of Plenty District.

The Minister’s Award for Top of Wing, after the collation of all course assessments goes to Constable Benjamin Winstanley. Ben also won the Physical Training and Defensive Tactics Award. “I’d like to thank my sergeant, my section and the whole wing. A journey like this is never taken alone. None of this would have been possible without the backing of our families, and all they have sacrificed to get us to this point,” says Ben.

Ben is posted to Canterbury District.

The constable who achieved second in wing is Constable Harrison Taylor posted to Wellington District. Harrison had always thought of joining the Police from an early age and now feels he’s able to make a direct impact in people’s lives. “It’s what I was missing from my previous roles – it’s good to have a sense of purpose.”

Patron: Dame Therese Walsh

The patron role is set up to influence and guide the recruits to success throughout their training programme at The Royal New Zealand Police College (RNZPC).

Dame Therese Walsh is a professional director and a highly regarded inspirational leader with a background in leading major sporting events. She is currently Chair of Air New Zealand, Chair of ASB Bank, Chair of Chapter Zero NZ and a Director of Antarctica New Zealand and OnBeingBold. She is also a Beyond Greatness Champion, one of the inspirational women from New Zealand and Australia chosen to help support the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.

/NZ Police Public Release. View in full here.