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Auckland's New Justices of the Peace

Ric Carlyon - Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Auckland has 12 new Justices of the Peace, a group recently sworn in at the Auckland District Court by Judge Philip Recordon, accompanied on the bench by the Association’s President, Mr Colin Davis J.P.
The new Justices of the Peace are Inderjeet Bajwa of Dannemora, Jannette Brown of Shamrock Park, Des Dunlop of East Tamaki, Fiona Fenwick of Dairy Flat, Penelope Henning of Somerville, Judith Hounsell of Ormiston, Virginia Lesoa of Favona, William Peace of Mangere East, Leiola Pelesikoti of Otara, Sara Reid of Cockle Bay, Michael Sommerville of Beachlands and Norman Stacey of Glen Innes.
Thirty-three friends and family members of the 12 appointees also attended, along with the Association’s Representative to the Royal Federation, Mrs Wallis Walker J.P. and the Association’s Registrar, Roger Brookes, J.P.

Following the ceremony and before refreshments were served each appointee was presented with a Swearing In pack containing a signed Royal Federation Justice of the Peace certificate, a Royal Federation Justice of the Peace badge, a Justice of the Peace gate plate,  a Justice of the Peace identifier stamp and  a letter from the Association containing key information for new Justices of the Peace.
Part of the letter directs the appointee to their local Justices of the Peace support group where they will be assigned a mentor who'll arrange the appointee’s rostering at a service desk where, over several sessions, the first eight hours of providing services to the public will be with an experienced member of the Association.
In this way the Association helps the new Justice of the Peace achieve its “Active and Trained” initiative before being listed in the “Find a JP” website directory.

Our History Recorded in New Book

Ric Carlyon - Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The ‘Year of the Justice of the Peace", during which we celebrated 200 years of Justices of Peace in New Zealand, has been appropriately crowned with publication of a book tracing our history.

“Reading the Riot Act*, A 200 Year History of Justices of the Peace in New Zealand” by Philip Harkness chronicles the days of the first J.P., Thomas Kendall, and other early Justices (this chapter’s subtitled ‘Rough Justice’) through to the present day. The story ends with challenges supporting the case for non-partisan appointments of Justices of the Peace and greater deployment of Justices of the Peace to relieve the workload in District Courts.

Dr Philip Harkness is very well-positioned to write the book: his thesis was about New Zealand’s lay magistracy, he’s been a Justice of the Peace for more than 50 years during which time he has undertaken both Judicial duties on the Bench and Ministerial duties. He’s a former President of Waikato Justices of the Peace Association and is a Life Member of the Auckland Association.  He says in the Preface that this account is “not intended as an academic treatise but rather as a wide-ranging account of the adoption and development in New Zealand of British common justice…”
Philip Harkness has achieved his objective with an easily read text, accompanied by illustrations, telling the story, warts-and-all, from the earliest days of colonisation.

The book is dedicated to the memory of Henry Augustus Thompson, a young Justice of the Peace who was brutally murdered on June 17th 1843 in the execution of his duty at the infamous Wairau Massacre. The book is also in recognition of countless Justices of the Peace who over 200 years have served the New Zealand public in many ways.

*The Riot Act which helps give the book its title was, until 1961, New Zealand law providing for a J.P. to warn off members of unruly crowds, assemblies or gatherings, ordering them to disperse. Those who interfered with the Justice of the Peace reading the Riot Act might he imprisoned, along with anyone lingering in assembly more than an hour after the Riot Act was read. Philip Harkness also points out in his book that any Justice of the Peace who declined to read the Riot Act was also liable to a term of imprisonment!

Copies of “Reading the Riot Act” are available from the Registrar, Roger Brookes and arrangements can be made to pay the cost, $30, by direct credit on-line.

Diversity… Conference Topic: Reality in Auckland

Ric Carlyon - Monday, March 16, 2015

Cultural diversity was interwoven with the theme “The Changing Skyline of Justice” at the recent Justices of the Peace Conference in Auckland, and the fact that, increasingly, this diversity will impact on services undertaken by Justices of the Peace. One speaker said that Justices of the Peace in Auckland are already well aware of the many different communities and peoples, and warned that it won’t be long before different ethnicities are evident in other New Zealand cities and towns.

Now a recently-released report by Doug McKay, former Auckland Council Chief Executive, underlines Auckland’s diversity.

“Europeans make up only half the Auckland population,” the report says, “with  Asian and Pacific people comprising a larger share of the population than Maori. 65 per cent of Pacifika community lives in Auckland. Immigration has contributed to this diversity: almost 40 per cent of Aucklanders were born overseas (the highest rate in the OECD)”.

The McKay Report notes that one-third Aucklanders speak a language other than English.

“Asians will grow by 130,000 in 7 years to 2021 and they are projected to comprise half of Auckland’s population growth in the next 20 years and Pacific people 22 per cent”.  McKay points out that Auckland is a Pacific Rim City, and an Asian one.  

The McKay report backs up facts about diversity given in an address to Justices of the Peace last year by Bruce Adin of the Ministry of Education: already 180 different ethnicities attend Auckland schools. He, too, advised that people from different communities would impact on whom Justices of the Peace will be seeing and services being sought. 

Conference News

Ric Carlyon - Thursday, March 12, 2015

Report from the Organising Committee
The recent Royal Federation of Justices Associations’ Annual General Meeting and Conference at Takapuna was successful because of a philosophy confirmed early-on by the organising committee… “that around the business of the AGM there must be relevant and interesting guest speakers, seminars (rather than workshops) that engage participants and then clear opportunities for social interaction”.
That’s the view of Chairman of the Conference Organising Committee, Vice President of the Auckland Justices of the Peace Association, Selwyn Haworth, in a report to the Association’s Council.
“Around the 4 hours allocated to the Royal Federation during the weekend or its formal business, we
successfully scheduled a conference which was interesting to delegates, observers and visitors alike”, Selwyn says “and we have received dozens of compliments, and no complaints, about the programme”.
Many delegates praised the calibre and variety of guest speakers: they included the Prime Minister, Minister and local MP Maggie Barry, lawyer/author  Mai Chen, District Court Judges, the Mayor of Auckland and Secretary for Justice.
Social events eclipsed on the Saturday night when a total of 210 Board members, delegates, observers and their partners attended the Gala Dinner at Spencer on Byron on the Saturday night.  
Selwyn Haworth's report also includes observations and hints about the running of these events and, suggests to Royal Federation several options for future Conferences. “Whatever” he says, “we are very willing to share all the information we have to assist future organising teams”.

Conference News

Ric Carlyon - Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Congratulations and Thanks
At the today’s meeting of the Council of Auckland Justices of the Peace Association, President Colin Davis thanked the Organising Committee of the recent national Royal Federation of N.Z. Justices Associations' annual meeting and conference, recently held at Takapuna's Spencer on Byron.

“Congratulations to all members of the Committee. Few can imagine the amount of work that goes into putting together this 3 day event” Colin said, “and the committee’s meticulous planning meant it went without a hitch. Members did the host, Auckland Association, proud with professional organisation and added prestige with the attendances of the Prime Minister and Auckland’s Mayor”.

“The Gala Dinner, organised by Wallis Walker, was first class” said the President, “with a bonus: the superb entertainment by the Tongan Tenors Trio and accompanying pianist".

Conference News

Ric Carlyon - Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Briefs from Conference 2015 at Takapuna

# Graeme Kitto was re-elected President of the Royal Federation of Justice Associations for the ensuing year, his second in office. Denise Hutchins will again be Vice President. Both were elected unopposed. The Regional Representatives for 2015-16 are Rachel O’Grady (Northern), Patrick Samson (Auckland), Kath Blair (Central) and Gavin Evans (Southern).  Greg Weake continues in the office of Immediate Past President. 

# A special farewell was accorded long-serving member on the Auckland Association’s Council and Auckland Regional Representative, Wallis Walker. After a presentation, Wallis addressed Conference, reminding everyone that the Royal Federation was made up of Association-members, and was there to assist and support Associations, a fact that she said was sometimes overlooked at Federation meetings in Wellington.

# Board business at Conference confirmed next year’s gathering will be in Dunedin, followed by Rotorua in 2017 and Canterbury in 2018, that Association’s Centennial.

# Forum Topics at Conference gave delegates a wide range of choice, from “Fraud and Immigration” (NZ Immigration Investigator), “Trouble-shooting Difficult Situations in Court” (Judge Charles Blackie), “Technology” (Greg Weake), “The Family Court” (Judge Ian McHardy) and “Dealing with Cultural Diversity”, (Camille Nakhid). In addition there were workshops for both Presidents and Registrars.

# Apologies tendered to Conference include a handful from Justices of the Peace on the remote Chatham Islands, members of the Canterbury Association.

# Those attending Conference’s Opening Ceremony became aware the liner Queen Elizabeth II was in port on its special cruise marking the centenary of the ANZAC Gallipoli campaign. Delegates, observers and visitors took the opportunity to mark the 100th anniversary by observing a minute’s silence for servicemen and women, especially New Zealanders, who died at Gallipoli, in previous South African battles, and during all subsequent conflicts.

Conference News

Ric Carlyon - Sunday, March 08, 2015

“J.P.”, Cultural Diversity in the Spotlight

Prominent lawyer, businesswoman, columnist and author, Mai Chen, in her address to Conference, urged delegates to drop the abbreviated name “J.P” in favour of the full title “Justice of the Peace”.

She told the 2015 Royal Federation of Justice Associations’ Annual Conference that the full name has a certain ring to it, sounds better and accurately describes Justices’ duties both now and into the foreseeable future.

Mai Chen said many Justices of the Peace, particularly in the main centres, are already experiencing cultural diversity in our communities. “They’re dealing with a wide range of nationalities and these people now make up many of those seeking  Ministerial Duties,” she said, “and those Justices of the Peace in other places not yet seeing these people will do so soon… be ready… statistics project growing cultural diversity throughout the country”.

[Conference later resolved to seek dessimination of on-line information and brochures to explain Justice of the Peace services in different languages for key non-English speaking communities]


Conference News

Ric Carlyon - Thursday, March 05, 2015

Success for Auckland Remits

Three remits put up by Auckland were passed by delegates attending the recent Royal Federation of Justices Associations' annual conference held recently at Takapuna.

Two remits were significant because they were both first suggested by Justices of the Peace in ground-roots Support Groups, endorsed and put forward by the Auckland Justices of the Peace Association.

The first, from Auckland’s Eastern Districts, called for the Ministry of Justice to provide for demographic diversity with on-line information and brochures to explain Justice of the Peace services in different languages. It was suggested that this information would be most helpful to those key non-English speaking communities who seek Justice of the Peace duties. Conference agreed with the proposition.

The other remit originated from one of the smaller Support Groups, Waiheke Island. Members there canvassed for a rewrite of the Manual of Ministerial duties, to be provided both on-line and in hard copy. The current Manual is out of date, they pointed out, and Justiuces of the Peace need a ready, accurate Manual that they can refer to. Conference agreed and a request will be made to the Ministry.

Auckland Association also had a remit passed by Conference that called for voting figures to be made available following elections at Conference. But the attempt to get Auckland’s “Active and Trained” initiative incorporated into the Federation’s proposed Accreditation system failed.  

Conference News

Ric Carlyon - Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Minister: Thanks Justices of the Peace and Looks Ahead

Hon. Maggie Barry, standing in for Associate Justice Minister Simon Bridges, officially opened the recent Royal Federation of Justices Associations’ Annual Conference at Takapuna and began her remarks by thanking Justices of the Peace for their services which, she says, are “absolutely invaluable”. “The Government is very appreciative of your work, as are the countless New Zealanders who use your services, both in and outside of the courtroom,” the Minister said, “so thank you for all your hours of service to our communities and our justice system”.

Maggie Barry then pursued the theme of the conference “The Changing Skyline of Justice” when she said that the Government is committed to modernising our courts, so that the court system reflects the needs of New Zealand and New Zealanders in the 21st century.

“We want a system that delivers results faster, is simpler for people to use and understand, and provides a better experience for those who work in it. People expect modern customer service and the greater provision of services online” the Minister said, “and we also need to ensure that resources are used as efficiently and effectively as possible”.

“But in seeking a modern court system, the Government is equally conscious of the fundamental values that underpin justice laid out in the Bill of Rights and other laws and conventions”

Maggie Barry continued…“this will require changes in law and operation, and the implementation of technology alongside a commitment of everyone who works in the justice system – judges, court staff and, of course, Justices of the Peace – to ensure these changes are successful”.

Annual Conference Gets Underway

Ric Carlyon - Friday, February 27, 2015

Auckland hosts the annual conference of the Royal Federation of Justices Associations which begins today.

Representatives of J.P.s from throughout New Zealand will gather at the Spencer on Byron Hotel in Takapuna for their three day conference, themed “The Changing Skyline of Justice”. Among the guest speakers are lawyer, author and businesswoman Mai Chen, senior District Court Judge Anne Kiernan and the Chief Executive and Secretary for Justice, Ministry of Justice, Andrew Bridgman. 

A new book , “Reading the Riot Act”, will be launched during the Conference. Authored by Philip Harkness, it details the history of J.P.s in New Zealand over 200 years since the first J.P., Thomas Kendall, arrived in the Bay of Islands in 1814.  

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