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Taking the oath to give back

Taking the oath to give back
Enjoying a moment after the JP swearing-in ceremony at the Ashburton District Court yesterday were (from left) Tipene Philip, Judge Dominic Dravitzki, and Chris Wiltshire. PHOTO SHARON DAVIS

Retired long-serving local policeman Chris Wiltshire had only planned a short stay in Ashburton when he was posted here back in 1975.

Wiltshire and his late wife expected to be on the move again soon. But their plans changed with the birth of their two children.

"We decided Ashburton was the place and type of community we wanted to raise our family in."

He was one of two new Justices of the Peace (JPs) who swore their oath of allegiance to King Charles III, his heirs and successors in the Ashburton District Court yesterday.

Wiltshire and Tipene Philip were sworn in by Judge Dominic Dravitzki and welcomed into the ranks of Mid Canterbury's JPs on Monday morning.

Wiltshire said he'd made connections with a number of different organisations and clubs during his career. He was also a founding member and trustee for the Methven Te Puawaitanga Charitable Trust.

More recently, he's volunteered at both the Cancer Society and the Citizens Advice Bureau.

"The time is now right for me to take the challenges and opportunities provided to me in accepting the appointment of Justice of the Peace.”

Ashburton local Tipene Philip decided to embark on training to become a Kaiwhakawā tūmatanui (Justice of the Peace) to make the service more available to the local marae and wider community.

"We have a proverb: Tangata ako ana i te whare, te tūranga ki te marae, tau ana (a person trained well at 'home' will contribute to family and society).”

He was born in the district, moved away for a while, and then returned with his wife to work locally and raise their two children.

"This district has many things to offer and many of the services are supported by voluntary staff and people who give up their time to help others.

"It is standout feature of the area and it seems logical to offer in return our skills and knowledge. I really appreciate the facilities, the opportunities and the local community here."

Since returning to Ashburton, Philip has been involved in the local marae and had the privilege of being a Wātene Māori (Māori warden) for a number of years

The swearing in brings the number of JPs in the district to 62.

By Sharon Davis