Mok Smallman enjoys interacting with tauira, including teaching them self-defence skills.
Anthony “Mok” Smallman has packed a lot of frontline experience into his military, policing and security sector careers over the past 40 years. That experience includes recent stints teaching police recruits in the strife-torn Middle-East.
These days 58-year-old Mok is a key kaiako at Rotorua’s Waiwhero Te Wānanga o Aotearoa campus where he teaches at the pre-entry course for tauira seeking jobs in the likes of police, the military, Corrections and Customs.
“It’s great to be part of preparing people for careers such as frontline policing in the real world,” says Mok (Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Tuhourangi).”
His CV makes impressive reading. After about six years as a full-time infantry soldier, including two years in Singapore, Mok became a Wellington-based traffic officer in 1984, learning how to ride motorbikes and undertake high-speed pursuits. In 1992 traffic officers were absorbed into the police and Mok went on to general duties, youth aid and iwi liaison work in the capital.
Then, in the mid-1990s, the senior rugby player took up a role at the police college in Porirua where he was a fitness, self-defence, firearms and driving instructor. That job morphed into a national tactical trainer role involving teaching both new recruits and re-certifying experienced officers.
Of the police college, Mok says: “I really enjoyed meeting and training people from a wide range of backgrounds, helping them to achieve their goals.”
After a shift to Rotorua in 2002 to take up a training role there, Mok eventually left the New Zealand police after 20 years. He went on to work in places like the Middle-East where he helped train thousands of police recruits.
However, Mok had been attracted to working at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa after helping out with a police preparation course there while serving in Rotorua. He jumped at the chance to start in his new role just last year, and has introduced self-defence and drill training.
Mok says he really enjoys helping the tauira: “I like interacting and sharing my knowledge and their reaction to the training. The stuff they’re being taught is stuff they need to know at the likes of the police college.”
Waiwhero is one of seven North Island Te Wānanga o Aotearoa campuses that offer a new course aimed at improving the chances of people making a successful entry into career training for services including police, the military, Corrections and Customs.