Last week, Waka Morete joined the Corrections team at Mt Eden Corrections Facility. Standing up alongside 112 of his fellow recruits, he graduated as a Corrections Officer, marking the end of 12 weeks of training.
During the ceremony, Corrections Minister Louise Upston presented Waka with the Minister’s Excellence Award in acknowledgement of the leadership, professionalism and all round excellence he demonstrated throughout the training pathway.
“Winning this award means a lot to me and has given me an incentive to thrive within the department,” says Waka.
Waka is the first Corrections Officer to graduate as part of Corrections’ overseas recruitment campaign.
For 13 and a half years Waka served in the New Zealand Army which included deployments to East Timor, Solomon Islands and Afghanistan. After leaving the Army, he spent a few years working in private security in Afghanistan and from there moved to Australia where he continued to work in security for Crown Casino Perth and Australian Federal Courts. After spending a significant amount of his career overseas, Waka decided to return to New Zealand to be closer to his family.
“I wanted to work and help people who are less fortunate than myself,” says Waka. “Enlisting in Corrections gives me a chance to help make our communities a bit more safer and help motivate people in prison to change their current ways of thinking.”
Waka has always enjoyed stepping out of his comfort zone. Being a Corrections Officer is no easy task and each day brings unique and rewarding challenges.
The training involved practical scenarios, safety training and on-the-job elements.
“Overall I enjoyed all aspects of the course. One thing that stuck out was to be professional in everything that is put in front of me” says Waka.
A career with Corrections is a chance to make a difference and be a positive role model to some of society’s most challenging citizens.
Waka says “my advice to someone who is wanting to join Corrections is to embrace the challenge with both hands and own it. Be yourself in everything you do and every path you take.”