A former Crusaders and Hurricanes rugby player is among 76 constables to graduate from Police College today.

Constable Tone Kopelani had wanted to be a police officer for many years until his rugby career took off.

The former hooker played for the Crusaders and Hurricanes and then played in France for four seasons with the club CS Bourgoin-Jallieu.

"Rugby took over my life for about 11 years," he said.


"But I've always wanted to be a police officer, to be able to make a positive change in someone's life is what I am most looking forward to."

Mr Kopelani worked as an Authorised Officer at Christchurch Police Station before attending Police College, where he won the Prevention Award for his frontline skills and prevention practices.

He has been posted to Canterbury District alongside fellow Cantabrian and former Authorised Officer Constable Paige Jackman, who took out overall honours at Police College by winning the Minister's Award for First in Wing. Ms Jackman has a law degree from Canterbury University and was admitted to the bar in 2011.

The 76 new constables of Wing 284 have been posted to Northland, Waitemata, Auckland, Counties Manukau, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Eastern District, Central District, Wellington, Tasman District, Canterbury and Southern District.

Constable Tone Kopelani. Photo / NZ Police