Stuart’s Journey

Stuart’s career in policing has seen him work in many of the smaller and larger stations in Police’s Southern District. But he was eventually drawn to the stunning landscapes of Rakiura Stewart Island, a paradise for nature lovers with dense forests, pristine beaches, and diverse birdlife and wildlife.

Daily Adventures

A typical day for Stuart involves more than just having a visible presence in the Oban, the only town on the Island. He’s also keeping tourists and trampers who’ve come to walk the Rakiura Track safe, traversing through forests, undertaking search and rescue operations, and talking with the locals to build trust and understanding. Whether he’s responding to a wildlife-related incident or assisting in emergency medical situations, Stuart’s role goes beyond traditional policing – it’s unique and rewarding and requires him to be adaptable in any situation.

As a keen tramper over many years, Stuart sees it as a huge advantage to have that personal experience in the bush while he is dealing with different requirements for his job as a police officer.

“Bushwalking instantly resets you – to feel the ferns brush against you, it’s so good for your mental health and you feel so connected to nature. This job has allowed me to see beautiful parts of the country and do things I never expected, like rescuing sea lions.”

Community Connection

One of the most rewarding aspects of Stuart’s job is the strong bond he has forged with the island’s community. As a Sole Charge Constable, he is not just a police officer; he’s a friend, a confidant, and a source of support for the community.

“Everyone knows me in the community, they see me as a normal person out and about and we can be on a level field. I often get tips when I’m out walking. We share stories and information, which is something you need especially starting out as a new officer in the area.”

Diverse Challenges

Policing in rural areas presents a distinct set of challenges that can be both engaging and rewarding. There are over 300 police locations across the country, and anyone wishing to apply for police can find out where there are vacancies. Officers stationed in these towns often find themselves dealing with a variety of situations, and officers often bring their skillset and mindset gained from their sporting pursuits and fitness to the job.

Stuart’s story exemplifies the possibilities for people keen on the outdoors to work in police locations throughout the country. Become a police officer and join a team of like-minded people, just like Stuart on Stewart Island. Apply at newcops.govt.nz