Pacific prison guards receive training from NZ Corrections

Close to 60 Fijians completed their training with the New Zealand Corrections last week.

The officers have now returned to their correction facilities or prisons to take up their new postings.

They were part of the 135 new recruits who underwent training at the Corrections training facility at Upper Hutt in Wellington.

The cohort 102 group included Fijians, Samoans and Tongans as well as others from India and across New Zealand

The group were welcomed to frontline duties last Friday.

Corrections deputy commissioner Neil Beales said the new officers have worked hard and now enter the real challenge of serving on the fronline.

“Our recruits have undergone comprehensive training focused on custodial practice, safety and security, including thorough tactical options training,” Beales said.

He acknowledged the new recruits and the work they have done, adding “they have a lot to be proud of”.

“They are coming to a great team, but they also have a big responsibility ahead.

“Being a corrections officer can be challenging work, but it can also be deeply rewarding knowing you can positively impact peoples’ lives and help keep communities safe.”

He said recruitment started in 2022 and officers from the Pacific have been recruited because they have a people-to-people approach and connection.

“Our staff members make a real difference in their communities, helping keep the public safe and change people’s lives for the better, and we’re working hard to recruit more people who want to do the same,” Beales said.

“It’s no secret we have faced significant staffing pressures over the last 18 months, and we have been actively recruiting more people to the frontline. Our first recruitment campaign, which ran in 2022 and 2023, helped us hire over 1000 new officers.”

Some of the new Fijian recruits performing a haka as their five-weeks training was celebrated on Friday, April 26, 2024 at the New Zealand Corrections Training Centre in Upper Hutt, Wellington. Photo: Iliesa Tora/RNZ Pacific

The work of other islanders, who have been part of the service over the years in New Zealand, had also opened the doors for their fellow islanders to follow.

One Pacific islander, who has worked for Corrections for over 10 years, said they have learned to take the challenges on their chin and keep smiling.

The new recruit group includes some former prison and police officers from Fiji who had resigned to be part of the Corrections Service, including a former Ministry of Information journalist Nemani Turagaiviu, former Fiji Sun newspaper staff Praneel Sharma, former firemen Ilaitia Ranave and Finau Nagera.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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