Imagine starting your dream career in the United Kingdom in April 1989, when the Berlin Wall was still standing, Maggie Thatcher was in charge and using a fax machine involved a half-day training course.
Fast forward to 2021 and it's time for the Horowhenua community to say "see ya later mate" to Detective Steve Yates, who has recently retired after more than 30 years as a police officer.
The Horowhenua Chronicle thought we'd reach out to this original English bobby to find out some of the highlights of his career.
As a teenager Yates had a dream of becoming either a police detective or investigative journalist, "I had a romantic notion of exposing evildoing ... digging and delving ... nabbing the bad guys," he said with a laugh.
At the age of 21, Yates left northern England to start work as a police officer in Essex in the southeast for five years before moving back north to Middlesbrough.
There was a definite difference in policing the affluent southeast of the early 1990s compared with the impoverished north.
"In Essex, it was party drugs ... acid ... and I spent time working in seaside villages," Yates said, "while up north there was a huge wave of heroin addiction happening and loads of car pursuits."
After 12 years in uniform, Yates became a detective in 2001, followed by a two-year career break, travelling the world and meeting the love of his life in Palmerston North.
Yates returned to England with his wife, rejoining the police, then in 2007 the desire to head back to New Zealand, for family support with their children, was helped by the NZ police actively recruiting in the UK.
"My first day on the job as a detective in New Zealand was also the same day the Operation Eight police raids happened in the Urewera mountain range," Yates explained.
The fact this particular event was the first conducted in New Zealand under the Terrorism Suppression Act was not lost on Yates, having already noticed differences in regards to the law and policing between both countries.
Yates had come from a country where terrorism was a regular occurrence and where there was a long history of miscarriages of justice.
New Zealand, at the time, was somewhat behind in some of the scientific investigation tools, such as DNA testing, and had only recently established a sex offenders register, one that identified child abusers but not those who had been convicted of sexual offence against those over 18.
One of the biggest differences Yates noticed, however, was that police in New Zealand appeared to have a better public profile than those in the UK.
"Overall, I found the average Kiwi a damn good, decent, honest sort," he said.
Another difference related to the way the law was enacted in both countries, with Yates believing the UK had a much more punitive, almost draconian, mindset when it came to punishments.
"For example, the sentence for theft in New Zealand reflects the value or worth of the item, whereas in the UK at the time it was a standard term no matter how much the stolen goods were valued."
A standout memory of Yates' time in the NZ police force was being part of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (Ramsi) during 2015-16.
The mission was to mentor and support the local police in the islands and Yates found the experience very grounding, especially as the Solomons was the first Third World country he had spent any time in.
"[The islands] are known as the land of 1000 smiles ... we were made to feel very welcome by everyone, including the village chiefs ... everyone had a voice ... there was lots to learn [for both groups] and a great deal of mutual respect," Yates explained.
A reflection of how highly Yates was thought of during his time in Solomon Islands is the fact he has a six-year-old namesake, the son of one of the families he became close to while there.
Now in his early 50s, Yates had always said he'd retire from the police when he hit the 30-year mark, so he'd still be young enough to take on other projects and challenges.
Yates' family have always been supportive of his career, although his wife commented that he's always on his phone, and his children have accused him of being a tad overprotective at times.
"I would 100 per cent recommend a police career ... it's an outstanding vocation [with] so much opportunity for [both] personal and professional development."
In the meantime, with no plans to hit the golf course any time soon, Yates joked that his next project could be to head back to the UK to reverse Brexit and remove the Tories from power.
Though in reality, catching up with extended family is a definite priority, now he has more time on his hands.