It was New Year 1981 and Tony Jeurissen, a Taupō lad who worked in a quarry, was waiting by the side of the road near Mt Maunganui, trying to hitch a lift back home.

A large black American car stopped to pick him up. It was the car belonging to the Commissioner of the New Zealand Police, and although the Commissioner wasn't on board, its driver, a police sergeant, offered Tony a ride.

They got talking and by the time they reached Taupō, the sergeant told Tony he was going to recommend him to join the police.

Prior to that, Tony had never given policing a moment's thought. He had been born, raised and educated in Taupō. With the exception of a short stint at university, he had worked putting in sewerage lines around town and on the tar gang in the quarry, joking that crushing rocks suited his personality.

But in June 1981 he found himself part of the first police recruit intake at the New Zealand Police's new purpose-built college in