Becoming a police officer had always been a dream for single mum, Tori Barton, so she was willing to do whatever it would take to make that dream a reality.
Enrolling in Te Wānanga o Aotearoa’s NZ Certificate in Study and Career Preparation programme was a crucial step in her journey and played a key role in getting her to where she is today.
“When I decided I wanted to join the police I wanted to do everything that I could to help me get there.”
“I spoke with the kaiako (teacher) and he encouraged me to do the programme because he knew how passionate I was and wanted to support me along the way,” says Tori who graduated from The Royal New Zealand Police College in August 2022.
Juggling full time mahi (work) and life as a solo parent was already a challenge for Tori, so adding study to her already busy schedule was daunting.
But the support she received from her kaiako, Morgan Kutia and fellow tauira (students) meant that studying wasn’t just possible but it was easier than she originally thought.
“I loved the supportive atmosphere. If I didn’t have the support of my peers and the kaiako it would have been a very lonely journey and I would have struggled to do it on my own.”
Not only did the programme help Tori gain the knowledge and skills she needed for the pre-entry testing but she was also happily surprised to learn more about tikanga Māori.
It was because of this tikanga knowledge that she went to police college with a stronger sense of confidence in who she was as a wahine (woman) Māori, so much so, that she led the karanga (formal call) at her graduation ceremony.
“Learning through Te Wānanga helped to ground me and I was able to go to police college and stand proud in the fact that I am Māori and now I can be proud in the fact that I’m a wahine Māori police officer.”