31 Dec 2008

Twelve Pacific people recognised in New Zealand New Years Honours

7:39 am on 31 December 2008

Twelve Pacific people have been recognised in New Zealand's New Years Honours.

The world and Olympic champion shot putter Valerie Vili takes the highest honours receiving the Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Ms Vili whose holidaying in New Caledonia says being on the list was unexpected but to be recognised is a huge honour.

Philippa Tolley reports on the other recipients.

"The Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit has been awarded to two women and two men. Toesulu Maea Brown has been involved in teaching Samoan language in the Auckland area for over 40 years, while Tokelaun Amosa Faafoi is a current lecturer of multicultural studies at the University of Canterbury. Part Tahitian Diane Mara who has a doctorate in education was part of the New Zealand delegation to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Samoan sculptor John Penisula from Invercargill is one of the few rock art specialists in New Zealand. The Queens Service Medal was awarded to Teina Akavi, Malia Toa Filimoe'unga Hamani, Anna Marshall, Taime Pareanga Samuel, Granby Sia-kimotu, Dr Margaret Southwick, Tupou Here Tamata-Manapori."