Top student’s police dream

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Lusi Fifita plans to put her leadership skills to the best possible use when she leaves school.
Along with 26 others from around the South Island, the 17-year-old Waitaki Girls’ High School pupil recently attended the Blue Light Life Skills Camp, held at the New Zealand Defence Force base at Burnham, south of Christchurch.
So impressed with Lusi’s efforts were those who ran the five-day camp that she was presented with an award for overall top student.
The programme is run by New Zealand Blue Light, in partnership with the New Zealand Police and NZDF.
It provides those aged 14 to 17 with a residential-based course that aims to deliver quality life skills and leadership training, and specialises in building self-respect, respect for others, working within boundaries, self-care, teamwork and problem solving.
Lusi, who is from a Tongan family, said while she was “stoked” to be named top overall student, she was more focused on putting her leadership skills to the test when she joins the police once she leaves school.
“I was motivated to not give up on being a cop. I learned a lot of stuff _ self-confidence, respect, why time is precious and the importance of being organised.”Lusi’s uncle, a police officer in Tonga, encouraged her to follow her dream.
She said she wanted to join the police to help young people who struggled without support.
“I have a passion for helping out kids that come from a tough background. I want to motivate them and keep them out of trouble … and to make my parents proud.”While Lusi would like to be based in the South Island when she joins the police, she said she would also be keen to work in Auckland, where the need, particularly for officers that speak a Pacific language, was greater. Lusi said the toughest aspect of the camp was the fitness work, while she also managed to overcome her fear of heights on the camp’s rope bridges.
She wasn’t too fond of the early starts either.
“Getting up in the morning at 6am was hard, especially when you’re the last group up and have to do push-ups. But the whole group ends up doing it.”Lusi was praised by Blue Light Life Skills co-ordinator Warren Sloss, who said she epitomised what the camp was all about.
“Lusi was presented the award of overall top student as camp staff felt that she had showed maturity, intuition, excelled as a team member, displayed positive qualities of leadership and was respectful towards staff and fellow course members,” Mr Sloss said.
“Most of all, Lusi really exemplified the qualities and attitudes the course aims to instil.”New Zealand Blue Light, established 30 years ago, aims to reduce youth crime, build community partnerships, enhance community safety and build positive relationships between youth and police.