Two new JPs were sworn in at a special sitting of the Dannevirke District Court this week, in a ceremony described as simple, but meaningful.

Dannevirke High School principal Dawid de Villiers and Pahiatua Real Estate agent Johannes (John) Arends took their oath and affirmation in front of family and JPs from the Central Districts.

Judge Gregory Ross (left), welcomes new JPs, Dawid de Villiers of Dannevirke and John Arends, Pahiatua, following their oath and affirmation.
Judge Gregory Ross (left), welcomes new JPs, Dawid de Villiers of Dannevirke and John Arends, Pahiatua, following their oath and affirmation.

"You bring common sense, wisdom and life experience to the role," Judge Gregory Ross said.

"And your individual backgrounds will equip you well for the role of a JP."


Judge Ross said the judicial oath and affirmation were significant as they were the same for judges in every court in New Zealand, including the Supreme Court.

"You are respected and responsible members of the community and people of integrity and honesty and you live up to the old adage, 'if you want something done, give it to a busy person'."

Judge Ross said he had confidence the men had the personal attributes required for the role of JP.

"This now confers on you both further opportunities and responsibilities in your communities and being a JP marks you out from other citizens.

"The roles and powers conferred are particularly extensive and include remands in custody, bail applications and making guilty or innocent calls in certain cases.

"Training for JPs is substantial, but your considerable knowledge and wisdom is not to be taken lightly," he said.

Joe Hollander, JP, president of the Royal Federation of Justices for the Central Districts, said the two men were now an important part of the justice system in New Zealand.

"It's clear you both serve your communities in many ways and we, as JPs, provide an important community service."

The Justice of the Peace organisation goes back more than 200 years in New Zealand and Tom Castles, the chairman of the Dannevirke sub-branch of JPs, told the Dannevirke News the two new JPs would help bolster the service in the district.

"A number of our JPs have retired and so no longer sign documents, but they remain with the service," he said.

"We've also another two people in the pipeline who are training now and two more contemplating taking on the JP role."

Mr Castles said JPs were spread throughout the district, but it was Suresh Patel and Erana Peeti-Weber in Dannevirke's central business area who have a large number of people approaching them for document signing.

And Mr Arends said he had seen people come into the Pahiatua office of Property Brokers to see colleague and JP David Lea and realised there was a need for someone to be available in that town's central business district.

Dr de Villiers said as a JP he has another chance to support and serve the Dannevirke community.

"As a principal I can already carry out some functions and this will be an extension of my role within the community."