Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says the Queen’s Birthday 2020 Honours List provides an abundance of examples that Pacific people’s leadership capability is unquestionable in Aotearoa.
“The work and the individuals we acknowledge this year highlights the kind of visionary examples and dedicated community leadership that we need to help lead our COVID-19 responses, recovery and the rebuilding of our Pacific economy.
“The Pacific recipients have all demonstrated excellence in areas which have made an impact in Pacific communities, including the arts, youth, education, the volunteer sector and most importantly in health,” says Aupito William Sio.
“Throughout COVID-19, key health messages were translated in 9 Pacific languages with the help of community leaders and Pacific clinicians, and it’s fitting we have four recipients receiving honours for their efforts in the health sector supporting Pacific communities.
“Dr George Ngaei, has been a strong advocate for Pacific peoples in Invercargill and has been appointed as a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to health and the Pacific community.
“His leadership would have been an important part of the Pacific DHB Managers and Regional Stakeholders Group that helped with the COVID-19 health response.
“Professor Alec Ekeroma has been appointed as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to health and the Pacific community, which spans for more than 20 years where he has been active in the development of medical services in primary health care for Pacific women and clinical education in New Zealand and the Pacific region.
“With the Government’s focus on training and education as a means to accelerate our COVID-19 recovery and rebuild plans, it’s a huge boost of confidence to the Pacific community to know that we have a pool of qualified people who are leading in the educational innovation space, like the three Pacific recipients who this year receive honours for their services to education.
“Ms Barbara Ala’alatoa, the Principal of Sylvia Park School, has been appointed as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to education and most recently chaired the Education Council from 2015 until 2019 where she worked on designing and promoting ‘The Code of Professional Responsibility’.
“Dr Roberta Hunter has been appointed as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to mathematics education, with a career of more than 50 years working to raise mathematics achievement and developing Pacific cultural teaching responses that has significantly improved outcomes for learners in schools throughout New Zealand.
“Another significant highlight for Pacific peoples in the Queen’s Birthday 2020 Honours List is that Pacific women feature strongly, as they have always done in the history of the Pacific region.
“This is just a snapshot of the significant contributions made by all the Pacific recipients and highlights the important role they have supporting our Pacific communities through COVID-19,” says Aupito William Sio.
The recipients are:
- Dr George Ngaei, ONZM, for services to health and the Pacific community
- Ms Barbara Frances Ala’alatoa, MNZM, for services to education
- Professor Alec Joseph Ekeroma, for services to health and the Pacific community
- Ms Donna Tusiata Avia, for services to poetry and the arts
- Mr Iosefa Punefu Enari, for services to Pacific dance
- Dr Roberta Kathleen Hunter, for services to mathematics education
- Tofilau Bernadette Barbara Pereira, for services to the Pacific community and women
- Mrs Aseta Redican, for services to health and Pacific peoples
- Mr Christopher Te’o, for services to health, cycling and the Pacific community
- Ms Lita Foliaki, for services to the Pacific community
- Mrs Emelita Rosita Selena Simeaanamulu Luisi, for services to youth
- Mrs Molima Molly Pihigia, for services to Niuean art and the community
- Afamasaga Agnes Rasmussen, for services to education and the Pacific community