Kirikiriroa youth worker Spike Taylor has been dreaming for years of stepping up to be a police officer and he’s now set to make that a reality with the help of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa (TwoA).
Unable to apply last year for the Royal New Zealand Police College in Wellington due to the COVID-19 lockdown, Spike instead enrolled in TwoA’s 38-week, NZ Certificate in Study and Career Preparation - Police Preparation.
This step, which helps tauira (students) with literacy, numeracy and fitness requirements in their preparation for the college, was based on the advice of a friend who completed the programme and became a police officer herself.
“She highly recommended it,” says Spike.
He’s due to complete the programme at the end of this year after completing his SCOPE – a series of four 10-hour shifts alongside frontline police officers, giving him necessary first-hand experince.
“I have already passed the psychometric and physical testing and that was all through the help of TWoA, especially my kaiako Morgan Kutia, and the services that they offered to me,” says Spike.
The father of one, who currently works fulltime as a youth worker for Real Waikato, has a strong passion for working with rangatahi (youth).
“You put yourself around what you want to do, that’s how I see it. It all fits in with the goal of being a police officer.”
The support from Morgan Kutia and the unique Māori environment at TWoA has played a key role in Spike’s success on the Police Preparation programme.
“I guess being around our own makes it a whole lot easier to relate. And the culture side of it, I love everything Māori.”
After completing the certificate, Spike also plans to continue studying with TWoA and begin his learning journey in te reo Māori.
“The plan is to get into police college and become a police officer. That’s one of my top goals. The other goal is to learn te reo Māori. That’s a goal for my personal development. I just want to be the best that I can be.”