A new police officer with experience as a game ranch manager and hunting guide has joined the Northland ranks.
Anton Keeve, who was born in South Africa, is one of four Northland officers who graduated as part of Wing 308 at the Royal New Zealand Police College in Porirua.
The officers have spent 14 weeks training and all four hit the beat in Whangarei on Monday. Before choosing a career in the New Zealand police Mr Keeve had worked as a game ranch manager, safari guide, hunting guide and spent many years in wildlife preservation notably raising and reintroducing cheetah to the wild.
Aged 44, Mr Keeve was the oldest of the 78 recruits to graduate.
But it's his varied life and work experience he reckons will help police in Northland.
"These places [where he has worked] are often remote and have presented a fair share of challenges around cultural integration, which has helped me develop an understanding of differences, and effects on each other," Mr Keeve said.
The other three Northland officers who graduated were Steven Coe, Hamish McGuire and Hugh Morgan-French.
Serving their community was something Wing 308 prided itself on, and included a number of people with extensive volunteering backgrounds, such as Bluelight, LandSAR, community patrols, Fire and Emergency NZ, and St John.
Dean Lovell-Shippey, who will be posted to Counties Manukau District, launched a charity in 2015 which raised money to rescue children caught up in sex slavery.
Find Her Smile became a fully registered charity within a year, and had raised enough money to help rescue eight girls trapped in slavery.
In April this year, it was announced the police ranks in Northland were to be boosted with an extra 66 police.
The new officers would be phased in over the next four years with Kaitaia the first to get 24-hour police cover, starting in 2017-18.
Kerikeri or Kaikohe - a final decision has yet to be made - will go 24/7 in 2018-19 and Dargaville in 2019-20.
Northland had the biggest percentage increase in the country, with 66 extra staff making a 19 per cent jump from the current 347. The next biggest increases, 16 per cent, were in Waikato and Eastern districts with 101 and 68 new staff, respectively.