Judge en­joys his com­mu­nity visit

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

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.

Photo: KRIS DANDO

Te Upoko Tuara, left, and Isiah Bai­ley were proud of the lunch they pre­pared for Judge John Walker.

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