Officer’s extraordinary story drives recruitment campaign

“The scene in this street art captures a moment in 2011 when Constable Sanalio (Lio) Kaihau used his faith, culture and values to help a traumatised woman.  She was going through some really dark times, had left her six children, moved into a women's refuge and was contemplating death.

“With nowhere to turn she believed the only way to free herself from the evil spirits that plagued her life was to end it. Constable Kaihau told the woman “Only God can set you free”.  He said, “I recognised that we had a shared faith, and used this to help her through this traumatic period.  She asked me to pray for her, and I did.  We prayed together.  The power of God was so evident that the woman felt His presence leading her to accept Jesus as her Lord and Saviour.”

This street art in Watford Street, Otara, by artist Otis Frizzell from 2012, was used, with the woman’s permission, to front a Police recruitment campaign as part of a drive to recruit young leaders with communication skills, empathy and problem solving abilities by retelling the story of an officer who helped prevent a suicide and help a distressed woman who was seeing demons.

The video challenged prevailing views of what it takes to become a Police Officer.  Constable Lio Kaihau says "Every day New Zealand Police are called to potential suicides and we need to recruit officers who can respond to this and other situations in an empathetic and effective way."  The victim at the heart of the campaign later said, “Police Officers are often known for locking people up, but it was Lio who unchained me from that horrible dark place".  She is now living a full and happy life and hopes other people like Lio will join Police to help vulnerable people in the community.

New Zealand Police wants to recruit young leaders with communication skills, empathy, and problem solving abilities who want to do something extraordinary in their communities. This recruiting campaign encouraged potential recruits to bring who they are to Police which includes your faith as a Christian.

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