Senior Sergeant Ian Campion is ending his 13-year career as Western Bay of Plenty's top traffic cop.

The head of road policing will spend his final days in the role next week , with Friday his last day on the job before flying to Bougainville next month.

"It will be quite different. I'm really looking forward to it," Campion said.

Bougainville, an autonomous region of Papua New Guinea, is still emerging from conflict. After consultation with its people, the New Zealand Government helped to establish the Bougainville Community Policing Project to strengthen law and order.


The senior sergeant flies out on December 26 and will spend 12 months there.

Campion has seen the changes on the region's roads over the years. He said his team of 26 invested much of their heart and energy into making the Bay's roads safer places to be. But that did not always go to plan.

"We do a lot of soul searching about how we can do things that might have helped," he said.

"It can be hard. It really does affect us. But we just keep plodding on."

Some of traffic team have been with Campion since he began in August 2004. While he was saddened to leave them behind, he looked forward to retuning to Bougainville. This will be his third posting there after deployments in 2010 and 2011.

"I will be based in Buka as an adviser to the North Regional Commander, an adviser to the OC [officer in charge] station, professional standards and also the cell block and custody area.

"It's quite a few portfolios ... I think it's great to have variety of areas you can work in."

Head of Western Bay road policing Senior Sergeant Ian Campion on the job inspecting Pyes Pa Rd for ice to try to keep motorists safe. Photo / File
Head of Western Bay road policing Senior Sergeant Ian Campion on the job inspecting Pyes Pa Rd for ice to try to keep motorists safe. Photo / File

Campion has no reservations about returning but points out that despite his contribution to the project he will hold no policing power.

"The role is around the mentoring and the coaching aspect of training and improving staff. You also want to build some sustainability around what you do."

Wife Deirdre won't be joining him but he will return home every three weeks.

Campion has yet to decide what he will do after Bougainville but he won't be returning to his current role, which will be advertised.

Western Bay area commander Inspector Clifford Paxton said Campion was leaving behind "some very big shoes to fill".

"He will certainly be missed."

Paxton said Campion was one of the Bay's more senior leadership members and his significant experience in policing was invaluable.

"Ian has a real rapport in his approach and demeanour. He is very engaging, always calm and measured. It will be a big loss for us."

Paxton said Campion had always had the community's best interests at heart.

"I'd just like to thank him for his service to not just the New Zealand Police but also our community. He's worked tirelessly to make this a better place."

Over the years

- Campion joined the Ministry of Transport in July, 1975.

- His first posting was in Tokoroa, where he worked until 1982, then returned to traffic college as an instructor for five years.

- He moved to Rotorua as sub-area controller in August, 1987, through the integration of the Traffic Safety Service with the police, and was later moved to general duties as shift commander.

- Campion took a break from policing for two years without pay in 1995 and bought a Muffin Break franchise in Lynmore, Rotorua.

- In 1997, he was posted to Auckland Central and later that year was moved to Henderson, where he worked in various roles, from shift commander to human resources.

- In August 2004, Campion was transferred to the Western Bay, where he has been ever since.

- Campion took two overseas deployments to Bougainville, in 2010 and 2011.

- In the 2014 New Year's Honours, Campion was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to police and the community.