Sir Graham Lowe - Corrections first patron

By Tema Hemi

Sir Graham Lowe is a Kiwi Rugby League icon who has trained the best in the business.  Now he is the first patron to be named for a graduating cohort of 65 new corrections officers.

The announcement was made by Minister for Corrections Kelvin Davis today in Upper Hutt.

Sir Graham Lowe has trained some of the best athletes in the world and at 73-years-old he still continues to produce quality of a different kind.  

Lowe says, "The thing [the officers] now have to do is combine their own personality with that great training and the combination of the two will make them fantastic officers."

More than 3,800 corrections officers in New Zealand currently are serving in eighteen adult correctional facilities throughout the country.

The 65 new recruits are vocal in their appreciation for Lowe's mentorship. 

Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Pikiao descendant Beau Junior Heihei-Ranston says, "Its been really great to have Sir Graham Lowe as our mentor. He's taught us a great amount of knowledge and shared that with us.  That's helped us and guided us into corrections as well."

"It's very similar to sport," says Lowe, "You can train a good sportsman to be right at his peak but it needs the combination of that sportsman's own personality to add the flavor, we don't want robots, we want the flavor."

Davis says Lowe has already had an impact in his work within corrections.

"His accomplishments in rugby league are phenomenal and so is the work he has already done within the corrections system with his 'Kick for the Seagulls' programme that has helped many inmates.  Those skills of his [have had an] effect upon these new recruits."

For now, the recruits will enjoy their day before taking on their new roles as corrections officers in NZ prisons. 

Heihei-Ranson says, "I'm pretty stoked and very happy.  It's been a long journey but I've finally made it to this day and it's great to see my family here as well."

"It's just an honour I just can't describe.  It's fantastic and then getting the opportunity to see these people in training and see the high quality and professionalism of their training and how they've gone about it," says Lowe. 

The recruits know they are entering a career that demands commitment and perseverance but have gained confidence through their training to get the job done.