Judge enjoys his community visit
Judge John Walker relished the chance to see another side of young people on a visit to Wesley Community Action recently.
Isiah Bailey and Te Upoko Tuara served him an open steak sandwich and chips during his visit to the Waitangirua-based organisation on June 15.
The district court judge said it was beautifully prepared by the young men, who are learning cooking skills as part of the Watch (Wesley Action Tauira Court Health) programme, which targets 17 to 25-year-olds who have appeared in court and want to change their lives.
‘‘It’s important for the court to show that it’s part of the community,’’ Walker said.
‘‘ We need more solutionfocused judging, in my opinion, and talking about what is driving the case to court.
‘‘It’s fine to be on the bench, but you have to be on the ground, too. Connecting with groups like Wesley is vital if we’re to make a difference in people’s lives.’’
Watch worker Rob Sarich said the programme had been going eight years and was one way Wesley could have a positive impact on the community.
He said Watch, which is a partnership with the district health board, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Social Development, was in contact with about 200 people in Porirua.
‘‘If we can get these guys up to do some cooking, or something else they might be interested in, they’re not out there in trouble. It makes more sense to have them creating in the kitchen than sitting, doing nothing.
‘‘They have rules they have to obey and there is respect that needs to be shown.’’
Wesley manager Liz Makalio said standing before a judge was a daunting thing, so having Walker in a more relaxed setting was helpful to the young men.
Te Upoko Tuara, left, and Isiah Bailey were proud of the lunch they prepared for Judge John Walker.