Nikita van Niekerk gained even more of an interest in joining the police force, after getting a taste of the possibilities available.
The 17 year-old originally had the idea of being a paramedic but was unsure so she asked her dad.
"Without any hesitation he said ‘policing' and to be honest I didn't expect him to say that, I was like 'maybe I should try and find out more'."
A conversation with her High School careers advisor was all it took to get registered for the STAR Police Preparation course.
It runs over two consecutive full days, up to four times a year at selected Te Wānanga o Aotearoa campuses.
"I was like ‘wow this is actually happening, this is an opportunity I cannot turn down’," Nikita says.
The preparatory course is supported by the Secondary Tertiary Alignment Resource - a programme designed to assist schools to provide practical learning experiences that will progress tauira further into study, training or employment.
During the introduction, Nikita got to learn from the experiences of new recruits as well as senior officers regarding the various roles in Ngā Pirihimana o Aotearoa.
"It was just so much fun listening to them talk about the different positions as an officer. The first day I felt a bit scared, everyone looked so fit. But when they started off with prayer that's when I felt comfortable. For me the second day was the best day, especially with everyone being so friendly and inviting."
A more challenging requirement, however, was the issue of passing exams such as the fitness test.
Although she narrowly missed the 12-minute mark on her 2.4km run, she achieved the highest number of push ups for the females – 27.
"The thing I liked most was how we got so much support and all the officers telling us not to give up when we were tired. It made me really think that there is so much care for each other in this career. It seems like a family I want to belong to."
TWoA continues to support local police aspirants thanks to a Memorandum of Understanding between TWoA and Police which was signed again by Police Commissioner Mike Bush and Te Taiurungi Dr Jim Mather in July last year.