29 Jan 2010

Maori community magistrate to take up office

1:38 pm on 29 January 2010

Auckland's first Maori community magistrate was being sworn in on Friday.

Lavinia Nathan, of Ngapuhi and Ngati Whatua, has worked on offender rehabilitation since the 1980s.

She will be one of eight community magistrates to take the judicial oath at Manukau District Court on Friday.

Ms Nathan told Waatea News it's important for Maori to see other Maori in judicial roles.

"A kaumatua told me many years ago that when a tui cries out, only another tui answers, and I think that by having Maori in these positions, we're able to hear the cries of our people, to look at perhaps different strategies or alternative ways of dealing with Maori."

Community magistrates were first appointed in the Waikato Bay of Plenty area in 1999 to take some of the workload off District Court judges.