E nga mana, e nga reo, e nga iwi o te motu e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou. Kia ora tātou katoa.
I acknowledge Hon Stuart Nash, Minister of Police, Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement, and Superintendent Scott Fraser, National Manager,Training.
Thank you for inviting David and me to be part of Wing 316’s graduation day.
It’s a proud moment for recruits and for the staff of the college, and it’s an especially proud day for family and friends.
Their continued support will be vital in the years to come.
Today I am speaking to you not only as Patron of Wing 316, but also on behalf of your fellow New Zealanders.
To Wing 316, I salute your decision to apply to Police College –especially when there are so many other people vying for a place here, and a tough selection process to get through.
I commend you for committing yourselves to a programme of training that has taken you away from home and your loved ones.
And I congratulate you for demonstrating that you have got what it takes to stay the course.
Today you’ve reached the finishing line – but in many ways, it’s just the start.
When you put on the uniform every day you will experience what it is really like to be a police officer.
You will be the person people turn to for help, to keep them safe and find solutions to their problems.
You will be the first person on the spot in an emergency situation. People will lean on you for support when they have suffered tragedy and loss.
You will see things that you would rather forget, and you will draw on all your reserves of emotional resilience.
Seek help when you need it, and do what you need to stay well.
And celebrate the high points: take pride in the satisfaction of a job well done and the moments when you have made a positive difference.
Always measure your actions against Police’s core values: professionalism, respect for others, integrity, commitment to Māori and Te Tiriti o Waitangi, empathy, and valuing diversity.
Look for other officers who show, through their attitudes and actions, that they are guided by these values. Watch and listen, learn from them, and use them as a model for your own behaviour.
In this way, you will build and maintain trust with your colleagues and with the public.
As just the third female Governor-General, I feel a particular responsibility to mention gender equity today – because although we are making progress, there is still a lot of work to be done.
We may have the necessary legislation in place, but social change still lags behind, whether it is in the workplace or in the home.
Our Police Force can help to take us forward, not only by modelling good work-practices within the force, but also on the front-line as we tackle the scourge of domestic violence. It’s one area where making a positive difference means saving lives.
I understand this Wing has liaised with the local Indian community – and that it has been a very positive experience on both sides.
This is as it should be, and it is to be hoped that with increased diversity in Police, that members of New Zealand’s many different communities will see it as representing them and their interests, and see you as someone that they can trust and approach for assistance.
Until today, you were recruits. Now you are recruiters, because the most effective recruiting tools are police officers out in our communities, doing their job well.
I wish you all the very best as you take up that challenge.
You have exciting prospects ahead of you, so seize all the opportunities you can to learn more and progress, in whatever branch of policing you go into in the years ahead.
Kia ora, kia kaha, kia manawanui, huihui tātou katoa