30 Dec 2017

Pacific people feature strongly in New Years Honours list

11:05 am on 30 December 2017

The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito Sua William Sio, has congratulated the thirteen Pacific people recognised in the New Zealand New Year's Honours list.

Bryan Williams playing against the 1977 British and Irish Lions.

Bryan Williams playing against the 1977 British and Irish Lions. Photo: Photosport

"The recipients have made an outstanding contribution within the Pacific community and I know that the Pacific community will celebrate in their success," he said.

Former All Black and Manu Samoa rugby coach Tuifa'asisina Bryan George Williams has been appointed a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Sir Bryan likes to think his knighthood is for his work at grassroots rugby rather than having anything to do with his being a former All Black.

Bryan Williams and his wife Lesley.

Bryan Williams and his wife Lesley. Photo: Photosport

Sir Bryan, who's 67, played for the All Blacks from 1970 to 1978 and provincial rugby for Auckland, but he believes his latest honour is recognition for his service to his club Ponsonby, where he has been a member since 1960, and grassroots rugby in general.

He has held positions on the Ponsonby club committee and remains a member of it today.

Sir Bryan is of Samoan and Rarotongan descent, and Aupito said the Pacific community will be delighted with his royal honour.

Sharon Wilson-Davis is another notable recognition as Member of the Order of New Zealand for services to the Pacific community.

"I also want to acknowledge Sharon Wilson-Davis of Strive Community Trust for her valuable contribution to the South Auckland Pacific community," Aupito said.

Kings and Pacific Music Awards trustee, Petrina Togi-Saena

Kings and Pacific Music Awards trustee, Petrina Togi-Saena Photo: Supplied / Vodafone Pacific Music Awards

Four Pacific people have been awarded a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Petrina Togi-Saena is one of the four recognised for her service to music including her involvement with the Pacific Music Awards.

Ms Togi-Saena said she's been working in music for over 20 years and was overwhelmed that her contribution to Pacific music is noted.

"Music and Pacific artists are my main focus. I really enjoy supporting Pacific creative people and helping them achieve their goals and support the work that they do," she said.

Dr Siutafa Deborah Ryan, MNZM 2018

Dr Siutafa Deborah Ryan, MNZM 2018 Photo: Supplied / Pacific Perspectives

Another recipient Dr Siutafa Deborah Ryan has made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her work in Pacific health.

Dr Ryan said the news was a big surprise to her, and she's honoured to join the list.

"I'm a Samoan born New Zealander who spent most of my adult life here and call New Zealand home, so I guess it was quite a privilege really.

"I was very humbled to have the work that I've done over the years recognised and I guess a reflection also of the work and the communities that I've had the honour to serve," she said.

Dr Palatasa Havea was recognised as an MNZM for his services to the Pacific community and dairy industry.

Dr. Palatasa Havea

Dr. Palatasa Havea Photo: via Tongan Broadcasting Commission

Mr Havea said it is encouraging to know that the time and effort one spends in voluntary work is not a waste, but appreciated.

"It is very humbling to think that someone believes that I am even worth this award.

"As Pacific people, we underperform in a number of development measures such as education, health, household income. I use my profession as a scientist at Fonterra to encourage and inspire the Pacific youth.

"Our community make significant contributions to New Zealand's economy," he said.

Kabini Sanga

Kabini Sanga Photo: Hana Tusa

"Much of my work is often done behind the scenes through writing, teaching and offering one-on-one support.

"Mentoring is never done by one person, so I feel that I am, but the face for many of my Pacific Island educator colleagues who are diligently mentoring a new generation of Pacific leaders," he said.

Other Pacific people named in the New Year Honours list for services to their communities.

The Honorary appointments to The New Zealand Order of Merit are:

Valeti Finau, for services to education and the Pacific community

Charles Enoka Kiata, for services to the Pacific community

Sereana Comeke Phillipps, for services to the Fijian community

The following appointments to The Queen's Service Medal are:

Foumana Alene-Tumataiki, for services to the Niue community and education.

Filipo Lui, for services to the Tokelauan community.

Mii Hinarere Tupangaia, JP, for services to the Cook Islands community.

Inga Nu'u, JP For services to the community.

"I would like to congratulate all the Pacific recipients, who I know will serve as an inspiration to the Pacific community," Aupito Sua William Sio said.