Ian Kenneth Swindells added another chapter to his family's history of service when he took the oath before Judge Greg Davis in the Kaitaia District Court on Tuesday to officially be appointed a Justice of the Peace.

Swindells, a former chief executive of Far North REAP, said it was a privilege to take on the role and to continue the example of service to his community shown by his late aunt, Grace Williams, who was a JP in Kaitaia for many years.

"It is a family tradition," he said.

"My mother and brothers had a record of serving rural communities, and derived great pleasure from that."


Judge Davis noted that the office was one of great antiquity, established in England by Edward III in 1361, giving the lord and three or four of the most worthy of citizens in each county the power to pursue, arrest and chastise miscreants, and while the role was much less physical in the 21st Century it was just as important.

New Zealand's first JP, Thomas Kendall, was appointed in 1814, and Swindells had added to a long line of people who had taken up the office since.

Swindells' CV, he added, was most impressive. He had a number of professional qualifications that he had applied for the benefit of the community, and Davis had seen the great work done "at some many levels" by Far North Reap.

"It is a credit to you and those you worked with, and I thank you on behalf of the judiciary," he said.

Bev Weber, registrar of the Far North Justices of the Peace Association, acknowledged that it had been a long road for Swindells, much of it navigated during the Covid-19 lockdown.

"I thank you for your patience, tolerance and goodwill," she said.

"You are a very well respected member of the Doubtless bay community, and through your association with REAP, and I welcome you."