Vicki Pemberton and Carl Netzler have stamped themselves into the history books by becoming Whangarei's first Justices of the Peace of Samoan descent.

In a ceremony at Whangarei District Court on Tuesday the history-makers, along with insurance broker Craig Auld, were sworn in as JPs.

District Court Judge John McDonald said the trio had an important role in the community and carry out "ministerial functions".

He acknowledged all three came from different backgrounds and were all suitable candidates to be JPs.


"There needs to be diversity among judges and Justices of the Peace," he said.

Mr Netzler hoped in his role as a JP his personal experience of adjusting to life in New Zealand as a young child would help make not only people from Samoa but other nations feel welcome.

"It's a real honour to be chosen by the Samoan community and then being accepted to a high position in New Zealand. I'm so honoured," he said.

"I hope I can help bridge their adjustment to New Zealand laws and systems and help people access the resources they need."

Mr Netzler spent two weeks on a boat from Samoa, arrived in New Zealand on his 5th birthday and didn't speak a word of English. His work in Northland has included being an executive officer for the Northland police, district manager for Victim Support, and a manager with the Department of Corrections.

Mrs Pemberton, a phlebotomist - a person trained to draw blood from a patient - said having to have forms signed and verified when she was studying inspired her to consider becoming a JP.

She said it was a chance for her to give back to the community. It was pointed out by Judge McDonald she was just about "a member of everything" from helping children with learning difficulties through to coaching soccer and being a Hospice volunteer.

"It's a chance to help people and make people feel more comfortable with something that might be foreign to them," she said.

Mr Auld, who has been a member of the Lions Club for 27 years, said being a JP was another avenue for him to give back to the community.