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Pacific peoples recognised in Queen's Birthday Honours

06 June 2017

Posted in: Pacific Radio News,

Members of the Pacific community have been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

All Black legend La'auli Michael Jones of Samoan descent, has been made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

The 52-year-old business and youth advocate admits being called Sir Michael, may take some getting used to.

He says he's passionate about empowering youth and runs a sports and youth academy in West Auckland. He also runs the Pacific Advance Senior School in South Auckland.

"I feel very privileged," he says. "I have a heart for my community and I still want to drive programmes that are transformational for my people, particularly the youth." 

Long-serving Cook Islands artist Mary Tupai Ama, has been made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the arts.

For the last 20 years she has shared and celebrated her love of the arts, establishing the Waitakere Pasifika Living Arts Festival and the Pasifika Experience Programme in West Auckland. 

Ama says she's thrilled Pacific arts has a place in Aotearoa and is being recognised. 

"It's very colourful now. We can see it and everyone is talking Pasifika arts!" she says.

Other Pacific recipients of the Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit title include, Hamish Angus Crooks for services to the Pacific Community, Annie Crummer for services to music, Sally Tupetalamataone Ikinofo for services to education and Maori and Pacific communities, Mereford Michael Meredith for services as a restaurateur and to philanthropy, and Rhonda Marama Mullen-Tamati for services to people with HIV and AIDS. 

Mokataufoou Togakilo Sipeli has been awarded the Queen's Service Order, for services to the Niue community and education.