Those were the words of Vaka Puaikura police volunteer coordinator Pare Rongokea who was among five police volunteers who were blessed at Tinomana Ariki Palace Au Maru yesterday.
Rongokea said the occasion marked a new beginning for him and his four colleagues who had been volunteering and helping the Vaka Puaikura police officers over the past four years.
Rongokea said there were 18 active volunteers altogether and his group made up the first five to be commissioned and blessed.
He said the past four years had not been easy but despite the challenges they had encountered they had never given up.
“Over the past four years we’ve been reaching out to youth. The whole idea is to try and keep them out of trouble with drinking and driving. We have been encouraging them to stay away from theft and burglary and to make good choices,” Rongokea said.
“Puaikura used to have the highest crime rate on Rarotonga, but when we started assisting the police it dropped tremendously.
“So now it’s one of the safest villages - but we need to maintain that.” He said the police volunteers’ new role as commissioned officers came with a huge responsibility, but he was ready to take the challenge.
“We’ve been entrusted with a solemn responsibility to lead men and women to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Cook Islands.”
Rongokea acknowledged community members and those who had assisted them.
“It’s always an honour to serve your country and help out the community. I just want to thank the deputy prime minister Teariki Heather, Police Commissioner Maara Tetava, Tinomana Ariki and many more.”