RNZI: Seventeen people have been recognised in the New Year’s honours for their services to Pacific communities in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Faumuina Professor Fa’afetai Sopoaga leads the New Year’s Honours list for Pacific recipients.
She was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to Pacific health and tertiary education.
She was the inaugural Pacific Associate Dean, Division of Health Sciences at the University of Otago between 2009 and 2020.
Faumuina has championed medical and public health education for Pacific communities since the 1990s.
Education was always important to her parents, she said.
“This to me is in part a reflection of what my parents had instilled in me the importance of education and service to others. And it is also a recognition of many others I work alongside in the tertiary sector in the community. And our collective efforts to improve our Pacific health and the health of our community.”
She led the development of the Division of Health Sciences’ first strategic plan 2011-2015 and contributed to Otago University’s Pacific Strategic Plan 2013-2020.
Faumuina also advocated for the establishment of additional senior Pacific leadership roles in Health Sciences. There are seven new Pacific Associate Dean roles today at Otago University.
“Professor Sopoaga was also instrumental as the Director of the Va’a o Tautai Centre for Pacific Health, she led the mobilisation of Samoa Doctors World-wide to support relief efforts for Samoa’s 2019/2020 measles epidemic,” said Minister of Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio.
“And more recently she’s been representing New Zealand to support Samoa’s vaccination rollout.”
Sina Moana Wendt is one of two Pasifika Officers of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
Wendt was recognised for her services to governance. She has contributed to the commercial, public and not-for-profit sectors for 25 years through her governance and executive roles.
Wendt has been the Chief Executive Officer of Leadership New Zealand since 2012, an organisation that contributes to the capacity and capability of leaders across public and private sectors, from diverse communities in Aotearoa.
She has worked with people from the Pacific region, the Commonwealth, and with people of all ages and background to encourage, support and embolden all to step into leadership roles.
She helped develop and launch Mana Moana Experience, a leadership programme for Pasifika leaders.
The other Officer of the NZOM is Justice of Peace, Tuita’alili Vaitava’e Su’a Aloese-Moe, who was honoured for her services to the Pacific community.
She has contributed to the health and education sector for the Pacific community for more than 40 years.
She helped establish Malaeola Community Centre which hosts more than 25 Catholic Parishes in Auckland and has been a member of the Parish Pastoral Council since 2011.
Tuita’alili has been a JP since 2012. She was also recognised for her services to education and health by Samoa’s Head of State who bestowed the honour of a matai chiefly title for her contributions.
Renowned international chef Robert Oliver is being recognised for his services to the food industry and Pacific communities.
Oliver was recently appointed board chair of the Pacific Island Food Revolution which he founded.
He is the only non-Pasifika honoured for his work with Pacific communities.
Oliver is also an award-winning author and is the brains behind the regional food show.
Prominent South Auckland local body leader, Alf Filipaina, has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
A former policeman, Alf Filipaina was the first Pacific councillor elected to the Auckland Super City Council.
Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio described Filipaina as a tireless champion for everyone in South Auckland.
“I am very proud of the calibre and tireless advocacy of our Pacific honours recipients.
“I congratulate all the Pacific People who have shared in these New Year’s Honours and their families for their support and sacrifice over the years,” said Aupito.
Queen’s Service Medal recipient Glorious Oxenham says the award is an acknowledgement to all the people she works with in the community.
Oxenham has been recognised in the New Years Honours list for services to the Melanesian community in New Zealand.
She has been promoting Solomon Islands and Melanesian culture, language and values for more than 25 years.
She said the Melanesian community in Wellington are really supportive.
“Here in Wellington we work really well with the three Melanesian countries, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu,” Oxenham said.
“These three communities work really well together as soulfully as well as helping each other out in the community things that we do.”
Oxenham has been President of the Lower North Island Wantok Association since 2011.
Last year, 13 people were honoured in the Queen’s New Year’s list. They included playwrights, teachers, reverends, advocates and athletes.
Pacific recipients in the New Year’s Honours
Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit:
Faumuina Professor Fa’afetai Sopoaga (Dunedin) for services to Pacific health and tertiary education.
Officers of the New Zealand Order of Merit:
Tuita’alili Vaitava’e Su’a Aloese-Moe, JP (Auckland) for services to the Pacific community.
Sina Moana Wendt (Auckland) for services to governance.
Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit:
Alfred Meredith Filipaina (Auckland) for services to the New Zealand Police and the community.
Dr Rose Namoori-Sinclair (Otaki) for services to the Kiribati community.
Robert Mark Oliver – non-Pacific (Auckland) for services to the food industry and Pacific communities.
Namulau’ulu Taotua Leaoa Joshua James Potoa’e Robertson (New Plymouth) for services to the Pacific community.
Allan Stowers (Auckland) for services to the Samoan community.
Kolokesa Uafā Māhina-Tuai (Auckland) for services to cultures and the arts.
Teremoana Yala (Porirua) for services to the Cook Islands community.
The Queen’s Service Medal:
Nonu ‘Unga Alatini (Auckland) for services to the Tongan community and education.
Vaisamoa Manoa (Auckland) for services to the Tuvalu community.
Taulapu Oliver, JP (Blenheim) for services to the Pacific community.
Glorious Marie Oxenham (Lower Hutt) for services to the Melanesian community.
Ingi Kulesa Sale Tusini-Rex (Auckland) for services to the Niue community.
Tito Daurewa (Auckland) for services to the Pacific community and Pacific rugby.
Falanisesi Fusitu’a Hafoka (Auckland) for services to the Tongan community.