Corrections Minister Louise Upston presents CO Raniera Whiu with the Minister's Excellence AwardThe team at Northland Region Corrections Facility has gained a new Corrections Officer and colleague. Raniera Whiu stood alongside 112 of his fellow recruits when he graduated earlier this month, marking the end of 12 weeks of training.

During the graduation ceremony, Corrections Minister Louise Upston presented Raniera with the Minister’s Excellence Award in acknowledgement of the leadership, professionalism and all round excellence he demonstrated throughout the training pathway.

“Winning the excellence award showed that I had something unique to offer,” says Raniera. “The mana that I represent with my iwi, hapu and the public gave me great honour to receive the award.”

Raniera has always gone out of his way to look after the people around him and throughout his training was seen to be a natural leader in the classroom.

“I hope that as a Corrections Officer I will be able to use my mana and passion to help others around me, both my colleagues and prisoners,” says Raniera.

Before joining the department, Raniera had lots of experience helping others. He was a commercial fishermen and gained qualifications in adult education to upskill students in the marine sector.  He then went on to work as a cultural adviser in the social work arena where he gained skills in supporting families. Following this, he worked as a work broker, supporting adult learners into employment and tutoring youth in NCEA L1, L2 and National Certificate in Employment Skills. Through this he learned that education opens doors for people and makes them stronger in themselves.

Being a Corrections Officer is no easy task and each day brings unique and rewarding challenges.

The training involved practical scenarios, safety training and on the job elements.

“The one thing that stuck out for me in our training was the importance of integrity. Without integrity in a person there is nothing to build from,” says Raniera.

“I received a lot of support from my cohort and the staff in Wellington at the National Learning Centre,” says Raniera. “The most challenging thing was learning the language of Corrections - the corrections way and all the processes and policy.”

A career with Corrections is a chance to make a difference and be a positive role model to some of society’s most challenging citizens.

“If a person wants professional and personal growth in all areas of their life, I highly recommend a career pathway with the Department of Corrections.”