Moana Fox (Ngāpuhi) has received the Minister’s Excellence Award, an award for newly-graduated Corrections Officers who have demonstrated leadership qualities, professionalism and all-round excellence.
A graduation ceremony was held recently in Wellington where the award came as a complete surprise to recipient Moana Fox.
But it was no surprise to her whānau members who performed a powerful haka that stirred emotions in the crowd, and on stage.
Moana and husband Paul Fox have raised their four children, who were there, along with Moana's proud mother.
The desire to become a Corrections Officer grew about six years ago when Moana came across a recruitment stand at the Upper Hutt Mall.
However, it wasn't until her youngest was off to College until she felt it was time to apply for Corrections.
The award has come as recognition of her impressive efforts throughout her studies. Moana's tutors say she has an ability to get along with people from all ages and ethnicities.
Minister of Corrections Louise Upston said, "Moana is described as a great team player who is calm, wise and inspires people to be better leaders.
"As with Corrections’ other recruits, I am delighted Moana has brought her many skills and experience to the team."
Moana also has an extensive background in the local sports community, being actively involved in management and supporting youth in Upper Hutt.
She has been a regional netball umpire and coached Wellington’s Under-15 and Under-17 teams for five years, as well as being coach of the New Zealand Deaf Women’s Netball team.
"It has always been a great passion of mine to find an opportunity to give back to my own community," says Moana.
Growing up with her elders in the Far North, Moana understands the value of karakia, knowing waiata Māori, and having strong support around her for tikanga and kawa advice when dealing with different situations within the prison environment.
Moana says, "I value humanity and believe that every person has the right to be treated with respect, dignity and equality.
"I am so grateful that I have been given this opportunity. I am able to express my passion, motivate people and set a path that will strengthen me physically, mentally and emotionally.
This week she started her new job at Arohata Prison. "At the end of the day we all want to get home to our whānau - all of us."