Surprise for prominent JP
It was a local MP who encouraged MP Alison Thomson to become a Justice of the Peace – so she did.
“Surprised” was the first reaction that came to mind when she found out she was a recipient of the Queen’s Service Medal for services to the community.
Not only does the former school principal serve as a JP in Hastings, she was the president of the Royal Federation of New Zealand Justices Associations from 2009 to 2011, a position she considers a personal highlight.
“I do these things but never expect to be rewarded,” she said.
When asked what she enjoys most about being a JP, it was a simple answer: “Helping people and meeting people” .
“In the last five years since we’ve had that court service centre open, I’ve dealt with over 8500 people – not documents, but people.”
Before she became a JP, Thomson took on the role of school principal at Woodford House in Havelock North and said she’s always been extremely committed in whatever work she does.
“As a teacher you’re there to help your students learn to the best of their ability and when I think back, my parents installed a sense of commitment and responsibility when it came to taking things on.
For example, I couldn’t join a choir and then a few months later decide to quit because I didn’t like it. I had to think about it properly and make a commitment for a year.
Working as a JP doesn’t come without its difficulties. Thomson often sits on the bench at court assisting with arrests, often seeing the same faces through the justice system.
“Its just a case of dealing with it, moving on to the next one and putting it aside. Its hard sometimes. If you got upset about these things it doesn’t do, because when you’re sitting on the bench you’ve got to think judicially, not sentimentally.”