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Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro and Karoline Park-Tamati, also known as Ladi6. Photo / Government House
Some of the Pacific region’s most well-respected leaders in health, education, community and music have officially been awarded their insignia for this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours awards.
Over the last two weeks, a total of 65 Kiwis from around the country have been recognised at investiture ceremonies at Government House, in Auckland, after being named recipients of Queen’s Birthday Honours earlier this year.
Six of those people were of Pasifika descent and whose recognition pay tribute to the dedication they have shown in their respective fields of medicine, education, community and music.
All were presented their respective insignia by Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro.
They are Sir Collin Tukuitonga, Neta Peau, Allan Stowers, Melegalenu’u Ah Sam, Karoline Park-Tamati (also known as Ladi6) and Dr Linita Manu’atu.
Knight Companion of the New Zealand for services to Pacific and public health
Sir Collin Tukuitonga, who hails from Niue, has made a significant contribution to the health and welfare of Pacific people. He is the inaugural Associate Dean (Pacific) in the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland.
Between 2014 and 2020, he was the Director-General of the Secretariat of the Pacific community, a regional inter-governmental organisation based in Noumea, New Caledonia, that works with several parties in the Pasefika region.
He was the chief executive of the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs between 2007 and 2012 and founded the first Pacific community-owned health clinic: The Fono.
In 2006 and 2007, he was Associate Professor of Public Health and Head of International at Auckland University, where he started their international health programme.
From 2003 to 2006, Sir Collin worked for the World Health Organisation in Geneva; developing international policies for the control of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
He was the NZ Director of Public Health between 2001 and 2003, leading the national response to the threat of SARS and had earlier been key in the establishment of the Department of Māori and Pacific Health at the University of Auckland in 90s.
Sir Collin has also been a key contributor to the national Covid-19 response, especially in relation to Pacific communities regarding information dissemination and ensuring high vaccination rates.
Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the Tokelau community
Peau has been heavily involved in the Tokelauan community for many years – particularly in sport and dance.
She played rugby league and represented New Zealand at regional levels; as well as turning out for Samoa and Tokelau at international levels.
Peau was vice-captain of the Samoa Rugby League Team at one point, as well as the manager of the Tokelau tag team which took part in the 2018 World Cup. She was also a player for the Richmond Rugby Club in Auckland.
Peau has played for, coached and led the Tokelauan team in kilikiti (Samoan cricket) and is a member and cultural advisor of the Mafutaga Tupulaga Aukilani – one of eight national bodies of the small island nation of Tokelau.
She has introduced tournaments and Tokelau traditional dance as events through the organisation and is an executive member of the Auckland Tokelau Society.
Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the Samoan community
Allan Stowers is a volunteer with the Samoa Victim Support Group, based in Samoa, and co-founded the Auckland-based branch. The group is well-known for its dedication to help women who are the victims of domestic and sexual violence.
He has supported the Carmelite Nuns of Samoa through fundraising efforts and has also been involved in other parts of society – helping to start the Lilomaiava Development Project, which helps to create employment opportunities for youth in Samoa while still fulfilling the needs of businesses in New Zealand for seasonal workers.
Stowers is a founding member of the hugely popular 13 Days of Christmas initiative started by the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa Māngere East (Ekalesia Fa’apotopotoga Kerisiano Samoa Puaseisei).
The initiative sees church choir groups from different denominations coming together around Christmas to show off their respective songs and items to the public.
It is a popular initiative with many in the local South Auckland community and particularly with Samoans around Auckland and overseas, who tune in to watch the different church groups performing via online livestream services.
Stowers has been instrumental in fundraising efforts for church groups, schools and various sports teams and is also a supporter and mentor for young Samoan entrepreneurs in Auckland.
Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Pacific language education
Māngere College deputy principal Melegalenu’u Ah Sam has always had a vision about keeping the Pacific language alive – through language.
She established Samoan language teaching at the college and went on to drive the addition of Cook Islands Māori and Pacific learning.
Ah Sam is a founding member and executive officer of Fotu o Mālama – the Association for Teachers of Samoan language and Culture – in secondary and tertiary sectors.
She is also the lead co-ordinator of the Samoan stage at the Auckland Secondary Schools’ PolyFest organising committee and trust board.
Outside of the classroom and school-related activities, Ah Sam is the treasurer at the EFKS NZ New Vision Church in South Auckland.
Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to music
Better known as musician and singer Ladi6, Karoline Park-Tamati is no stranger to the main stage – with a music career spanning about 20 years.
The soul singer is one of the most in-demand performers around New Zealand’s festival stages and is easily recognised by her husky voice and her unique style of soul, funk, reggae and jazz.
She is also known for her unconventional music production, independence and progressive strategy within the music industry.
When she was a teenager, she co-founded Sheelaroc – New Zealand’s first all-female hip hop group – whose hit track If I Gave You The Mic is a firm Kiwi favourite.
Over the years Ladi6 has toured around the United States, Europe and Australia and released three albums: Time Is Not Much, The Liberation Of and Automatic.
She has been nominated and won several New Zealand Music Awards, the Taite Music Prize and the Pacific Music Awards.
Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Pacific education and the Tongan community
Dr Linita Manu’atu is a proud advocate for education and is also a proud Tongan.
She has had an academic career with Auckland universities and hold an executive leadership role at ‘Api Fakakoloa Homebased Education Services, running professional development for educators.
Manu’atu has published in the area of indigenous and migrant education, language and culture and education.
She also chairs the Tongan Language Week organising committee and has written a book on Tongan language and culture in New Zealand.
Manu’atu is known for having led the development of the Bachelor of Education (Pasifika Early Childhood Teaching) degree and has worked for the Government of Tonga to similar qualification for Tongan Early Childhood Teaching.
She has also contributed to the NZ Association for Research in Education on the Pasifika Caucus.
– additional words: Government House
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