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Meet our Support Groups

Ric Carlyon - Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Beginning a periodic feature… a look at some of our Support Groups...
First up it’s Waiheke Island introduced by local Coordinator, Gillian Reeve.

Our Waiheke Island Support Group started up in January last year as a meet-and-greet social gathering to find out 'who's who' in our area. Initially on paper there were 22 Justices of the Peace on Waiheke but the contact list was very out-of-date, so we've had a sort-out to establish who is still on the island, who's left the island, who's new to the island etc. It's great having a clearly defined, small area and a water boundary that can't leak into any other suburb!

It's been a stuttering and faltering start in many ways. As with other Support Groups we have a long-term and ongoing problem - i.e. some Justices of the Peace have never once been to a meeting (or, in some instances, even bothered to reply to Support Group emails). They appear to be inactive and are certainly not up-to-date with training and all the changes in today's world (certifying of electronic documents, online learning etc) yet they continue in the community, appointed but not capable of proper public service, untrained and out of touch.

Nevertheless, we've continued meeting socially, at a dinner gathering, every 3 months, and at these gatherings we've covered any business / planning in an informal way and have sometimes had a guest speaker - the local police sergeant for example and, in January 2015, our local MP Nikki Kaye.
Every 3 months, alternating with the dinners at 6-weekly intervals, we have a training session on a Sunday morning at the Oneroa CAB with a trainer who visits from the outskirts of Waiheke (Auckland City !) as part of the Active and Trained initiative.
One clear 'hiccup' is that many of those who aren't active in our group are younger Justices of the Peace who have long work-hours, including weekends, either in Auckland or on Waiheke. Some have never been to a Support Group meeting or to a training session or offered for the Service Desk roster. It's all very well saying we need more young Justices of the Peace, but if they're virtually never available because of work commitments, wouldn't it be better value to appoint older, more available people, even if for a shorter time ?

It’s a pity more do not attend our Group’s activities, especially training, to maintain their confidence and competency to serve the community. So it’s good that a few Waiheke Justices of the Peace have opted to resign recently, possibly in response to a letter from MP Nikki Kaye asking their intentions. 

Our main success story however, has been the establishment of a Service Desk which now operates every Saturday morning at the Oneroa CAB from 10-12 noon. Whereas before it was left solely to the manager of the CAB (also a Justice of the Peace) the Saturday morning duties are now rostered.  One of our members is doing great work towards getting publicity for this in the local newspapers.

       A trio of J.P.s at Waiheke's Service Desk at the CAB in Oneroa: L-R Lomond Brown, Greg Ogg and Gillian Reeve

Waiheke Justices of the Peace made the 'big time' recently when, with much-appreciated assistance from Roger Brookes to get the wording right,  we were delighted to have the remit below accepted by the Auckland Association then forwarded to the National Conference in Takapuna, where it passed ! Now the Ministry of Justice will be asked to act on it.

At our last meeting it was agreed to try a more formal approach, so a meeting format will be followed for the April 29th meeting at the CAB in Oneroa at 7pm, with a get-together and bite to eat at the Oneroa Boating Club (restaurant) beforehand for those who would like to continue the social connection.
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