Two Far North women took the oaths of allegiance and office before Judge Greg Davis in the Kaitaia District Court last week, and officially became Justices of the Peace.
J
udge Davis told Margaret Matthews (Pukenui) and Leoni Carter (Waipapakauri Ramp) that they could now enjoy the responsibilities and privileges of an office that had great antiquity, dating back to 1361, when King Edward III of England gave the lords of each county the right to appoint three or four of their most worthy citizens to keep the peace.

The role now wasn't perhaps as physical as it had no doubt been in the 14th century, but it was no less important.

In this country it was the Justice of the Peace Act 1957 that gave the Governor-General authority to appoint fit and proper persons.

Much of what judges did on a daily basis was unpleasant and unsavoury, Judge Davis added, but swearing new Justices was one of the most pleasurable functions.
The pair were now entitled to be addressed as Your Worship.

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In Mrs Carter's home, given that her husband, Mayor John Carter, was also formally addressed as Your Worship, there might well be more worshipping going on than at St Saviour's.

More seriously, their functions within the community would be incredibly important, and in court, should they choose to serve there, their powers would be the same as those of a judge.

"You would not have been nominated if your community did not have great confidence in your ability to fill the role," Judge Davis added.

"Welcome to the broader judiciary."