4 Jun 2015

More recognised for services to Māori

8:02 am on 4 June 2015

The number of New Zealanders recognised for their services to Māori is climbing higher.

In this year's Queens Birthday Honours list 23 people were recognised for their dedication to promoting Māori kaupapa, compared to 15 last year.

Figures from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet show that since 2010, an average of 12 people have received New Year or Queen's Birthday Honours each year.

But this year, that number has risen significantly with the 23 awarded Queens Birthday Honours surpassing the 19 gained in 2011.

Among those to receive awards for services to Māori is Professor Elizabeth McKinley, who has been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Professor McKinley, who is of Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa and Ngāi Tahu descent, has many achievements to her name, including setting up a Centre for Indigenous Education at the University of Melbourne.

She said she was grateful for being recognised.

"The honour does help to reaffirm my work and that of others who have helped me achieve this honour," she said.

Professor McKinley said she found out she was receiving the honour about three months ago, but she has had to keep it a secret.

"I didn't tell a soul. It was interesting to see who read the list in the paper and then contacted me. I have fielded a lot of phone calls, e-mails and Facebook messages in the last couple of days.

"I feel very privileged that someone thought I was worthy of such an honour and took the time to nominate me."