Popular 'Poppa' marks 10 years in court job

By Melissa Nightingale

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SECOND FAMILY: Security team leaders from around the country came along to celebrate Peter Te Huna's (centre) 10 years of service. He is with Rick McKee (left) and Massey Coffin (right). PHOTO/ STUART MUNRO
SECOND FAMILY: Security team leaders from around the country came along to celebrate Peter Te Huna's (centre) 10 years of service. He is with Rick McKee (left) and Massey Coffin (right). PHOTO/ STUART MUNRO

Don't be surprised if you walk into the Whanganui District Court and find the security staff waving a rolled-up magazine over you instead of a metal detector wand. It's happened before.

"The judge asked for me to escort a person down the dock," reminisced head of security Peter Te Huna on Wednesday when he celebrated 10 years of service as a court security officer (CSO).

"I got down there and myself and another CSO went to search them, and I put a wand over them and realised I had a magazine as a wand."

While Mr Te Huna had other stories, he was reluctant to share them in front of "the bosses", who had travelled to Whanganui for the occasion.

Ministry of Justice deputy director of security Rick McKee addressed a gathering of security team leaders from around the country when he congratulated Mr Te Huna on his 10 years at the courthouse.

"For us to stop and pause and acknowledge someone for the work they've done and for them to see us acknowledging them is really important," he said.

"It's no mean feat to spend a decade in one role, one place, doing a job."

Mr McKee said Mr Te Huna had "obviously made quite an impact," in Whanganui.

Mr Te Huna, also known as "Poppa", said he joined the security team at Whanganui District Court when he "got sick of driving around".

He was working for Newmans Coach Lines when the opportunity to work at the courthouse came up.

He said he enjoys the "camaraderie" of his job and likes talking to members of the public and helping them out.

Mr Te Huna said his colleagues were his "second family".

Dealing with people he knew was harder.

"You know that they come to court and you think, 'Oh no, what are you doing here?'."

He said Wednesday's celebration was "a real honour".

Regional security manager Massey Coffin said Mr Te Huna was "extremely popular and well liked", while Mr McKee called him "personable".

Colleague Sheryl Chapman said he had "a good heart".

- Wanganui Chronicle

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