Searching for a Justice of the Peace to witness the signing of a document or to swear an affidavit at short notice can be a puzzling affair. For new migrants, having documents signed promptly can also be an urgent matter.
Anish Paudel, 28, decided to help provide this important community service, becoming Tauranga’s youngest Justice of the Peace.
“Being a migrant, I frequently have to contact a JP and it was very hard to find one,” says Anish.
“We don’t have any from our Nepalese network in the Bay of Plenty so I took it on as a responsibility to not only to serve my community but also to the wider communities.”
Anish’s family has lived in New Zealand for about 20 years with Anish joining them about three years ago.
“I was studying in Nepal and staying with my grandparents. I finished my Bachelor in Business Administration degree and came here to study for my Masters at Auckland University.
“My mum and dad visited me in Nepal once or twice a year but I hadn’t visited NZ before. It was good to be with my family here and I instantly connected with New Zealand and really loved it.”
Anish has recently finished the first semester of a Masters in Public Policy, studying in Tauranga through online distance learning.
“I’m going to live here permanently and planning to stay here my whole life. I wanted to give something back to New Zealand so went ahead with becoming a JP and will look for other ways to be involved in the community however I can.”
The process to become a JP, which is an unpaid role, can take up to 12 months. Nominations can only be accepted from the Member of Parliament for the electorate where the nominee lives. They must be NZ citizens or residents, listed on the electoral roll, have a good command of both written and spoken English, be confident computer users, must declare all criminal convictions, not be bankrupt, and must provide letters of support from two community groups where the nominee does volunteer work.
“Jan Tinetti encouraged me to go ahead with it and sent documentation through to Simon Bridges.”
Anish is the general secretary for the Nepalese Association in the Bay of Plenty and has been involved in activities with Multicultural Tauranga.
As a freelance translator in Nepal, he helped businesses translate documents from English to Nepali. In NZ during the Covid-19 lockdown, he was able to provide a translation service for the Office of Ethnic Communities translating information about Covid-19 into Nepali. The organisation will become the Ministry for Ethnic Communities in July 2021.
Anish formally became a JP on March 18.
“It was quite exciting and I’ve already received calls and had a couple of clients. I haven’t seen any Nepalese clients so far, but as we don’t have any Nepalese JPs in the Bay of Plenty community I will be able to help them as well as the wider community.”
Anish is hoping his appointment as a JP will inspire others.
“I thought it could be a motivation to the younger people to do something for society now instead of waiting until ‘the right time’ after retirement.”
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