31 Dec 2015

NZOM recipient pays tribute to family

12:15 pm on 31 December 2015

A New Zealand Tongan being recognised the New Year's honours has paid tribute to her family, saying the recognition is momentous for them.

Emeline Afeaki-Mafile'o has been awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the Pacific community.

Ms Afeaki-Mafile'o is the founder of Affirming Works, a mentoring organisation for Pasifika youth in Auckland.

More than 5,000 youth have come through the organisation and it has also provided training and employment to more than 100 youth workers.

Ms Afeaki-Mafile'o says she founded Affirming Works as a 25-year-old, because she saw the untapped brilliance of Pasifika youth and because of the efforts of her parents.

"It has been the influence of both my parents but particularly my dad. If I could pass the award on it would probably belong to him. I was raised in Mangere, South Auckland, amongst a vibrant, diverse, Pasifika community and dad did exactly what I'm doing for 14 years and he has been working with my for seven, eight years of those."

Other Pasifika to be recognised include Hola Taue and Lani Tupu who both received Queens's Service Medals for services to the Pacific community.

Outgoing All Blacks Keven Mealamu and Ma'a Nonu also became Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit.