Becoming a Justice of the Peace: Not just seizing overpriced wine
Having someone on the lookout for overpriced wine seems a no-brainer for a place like Marlborough.
Seven centuries ago, it was part of the job description for a Justice of the Peace.
Judge Tony Zohrab explained how the job had changed from its inception in England in 1361 as he swore in three new JPs on Wednesday.
Their duties included supervising the accuracy of weights and measures, the seizing of wine sold for excessive prices, and assisting those whose houses had burned down, Judge Zohrab said.
These days, there was a lot more paperwork, he said.
Marlborough Mayor John Leggett, teacher Robyn Anderson and fisheries consultant Jeremy Cooper are the region's newest JPs after the ceremony at the Blenheim District Court.
John says it is a "huge honour" to become a JP, having worked beside them for more than three decades as a lawyer before being elected mayor last year.
"I've got huge respect for them. They're people who are well-respected in the community."
JPs have to be nominated in writing by their Member of Parliament, with letters of support from two community groups they are involved with.
Criminal convictions must be declared, which can affect the Governor-General's selection.
Once selected, there are online courses to complete.
John, Robyn and Jeremy will be able to undertake ministerial duties, which means witnessing signatures, administering affidavits and certifying certificates and documents.
They will meet people from all walks of life, from people legally changing their name to people getting patents. Although not marriage celebrants, they can train to be, and they can also train to preside in court.
Jeremy is vice commodore of the Tennyson Inlet Boating Club, chairman of the Tennyson Inlet Islands Trust and a trustee of the Matai Bay Hut Trust.
He says he took the oath because he wants to keep helping the community even when he retires.
"I think it's important people assist in the community space where they can."
Robyn is a semi-retired secondary school teacher, who has worked in marriage guidance, as chairwoman of Lifeline Marlborough and with the Blenheim Rotary Club.
Robyn agrees with Jeremy on her reason for becoming a JP.
"It's just another way of doing a community service."
- The Marlborough Express