On Monday Dannevirke's Katrina Kerr became part of a long and proud history when she was sworn in as a Justice of the Peace.

Approached 12 months ago by JP Maureen Reynolds to put her name forward, Mrs Kerr said she was nervous, but proud.

"You've been nominated as a fit and proper person to become a Justice of the Peace," Judge Gerard Lynch said at the ceremony in the District Court.

In 1195, Richard I (the Lionheart) of England commissioned certain knights to preserve the peace in unruly areas. They were responsible to the King for ensuring the law was upheld and preserving the King's peace and were known as keepers of the peace, he explained.


"The history of JPs in New Zealand began in 1814 and justices continue to play an important role in our communities."

Joe Hollander, JP, president of the Royal Federation of Justices for the Central Districts, told Mrs Kerr the tasks she had made herself available for were many and varied.

"You've received your initial training in preparation for your duties.

"This is a long and honourable tradition and you will benefit from ongoing education and training and being part of a team," he said.

"It's clear you already serve your local community in many ways and will continue to do so."

Mrs Kerr's family and colleagues from the Tararua District Council were in court to see her sworn in.