Officer rapt with Mataura posting

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Welcome mat out . . . New Mataura Police Constable Malachi Watson says his door is always open for a cup of tea and a chat. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

After just three months on the job, Mataura’s new constable says he is already falling in love with Southland.

Malachi Watson started his new role on December 13, just two days after moving down with his family from Pahiatua in Manawatu.

“We were living out of boxes,” he said.

He had been “really warmly greeted by the community”.

The more people he met, the more sure he was of his decision to come to Mataura with his wife and children, he said.

He had worked in various places during his six years in the police, but Southland would “probably be home for a long time”.

The good people, safe community and amazing country were what brought the family there.

“It was a really big logistical move – four kids, two dogs and a cat.”

The lifestyle is also a good fit for Const Watson, whose favourite hobbies are hunting and fishing.

“We couldn’t be happier down here.”

Engaging with Mataura’s young people had been a highlight so far, he said.

Building a good relationship between the community and police was important to him.

“I’m more than happy if people want to have a cup a tea, sit down and just have a chat.

“The door is always open.”

His goal was to continue to provide a safe environment for residents, he said.

“Everybody should be able to feel safe where they live and to freely go about their business without feeling threatened.”

That mindset was what had driven him to join the police in the first place, he said.

It was a logical move after serving in the military for four and a-half years.

“I just want to help people and stand up for good things and what is right.”