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Strong Pacific contribution celebrated in New Year’s Honours

“Pacific women feature strongly in the 2019 New Year’s Honours list in recognition of their diverse contribution to Pacific Aotearoa in a range of fields including literature, fashion, mental health, youth development, sports, leadership and governance,” says Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio.

“Our women have traditionally been the backbone of our diverse Pacific communities and the New Year’s honours list once again reflects that they continue to be the strength of Pacific society today.

Associate Professor Selina Tusitala Marsh has received the ONZM for services to poetry, literature and the Pacific community.

“Dr Marsh’s 2009 book the ‘Fast Talking PI’ and her ‘Unity’ poem, which she recited in front of the Royal Family at London’s Westminister Abbey for the 2016 Commonwealth Service are stand out pieces of work that put her in a class of her own, as a new-age trailblazer and a modern-day navigator in the field of poetry and literature in New Zealand and throughout the Pacific region.

Dr Karlo Estelle Mila has received the MNZM for her services to the Pacific community and as a poet.

“Dr Mila’s research and examination of Pacific cultural identities of New Zealand-born Pacific peoples has helped to break down communication barriers and to better inform debate on mental health in Pacific communities.

Mrs Tukua Turia is a recognised expert on Tivaevae, which is traditional Cook Island quilt-making has received a MNZM for services to Cook Islands art and culture.



“Mama Tukua recently led the Kuki ‘Airani Creative Mamas group in a collaboration project with fashion designer Karen Walker on a uniquely designed Tivaevae dress which was displayed at the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange exhibition at Buckingham Palace, and was later acquired by Te Papa Museum.

“Mama Tukua’s talent is so sought after, that the British Museum commissioned her to do a special Tivaevae for them, which she gifted on behalf of the people of Aotearoa New Zealand and the Cook Islands.

Amongst the list of Pacific honour recipients was Lieutenant Commander Jan Joseph Tupuola Peterson, of Samoan heritage, who received the New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration for services to the New Zealand Defence Force.

“I am absolutely confident that our communities in both New Zealand and the Pacific region will be very proud of the depth and breadth of contribution these Pacific recipients have made, and will continue to make to Aotearoa,” says Aupito William Sio.

The recipients are:

ONZM
• Associate Professor Selina Tusitala Marsh, for services to poetry, literature and the Pacific community

MNZM
• Mrs Vaine Arai Areora, for services to the Cook Islands community and sport
• Ms Luisa Avaiki, for services to rugby league
• Mrs Annette Cherie Fale, for services to youth and Pacific peoples
• Mr Tanu Daniel Gago, for services to art and the LGBTIQ+ community
• Dr Karlo Estelle Mila, for services to the Pacific community and as a poet
• Dr Arbutus Mitikulena, for services to health and the Pacific community
• Mr Vic Henery Tamati, for services to the prevention of family violence
• Mrs Tukua Turia, for services to Cook Islands art and culture
• Ms Mele Luisa Wendt, for services to governance, the Pacific community and women

QSM
• Mrs Salamina Kaliatama Leolahi, for services to the Niuean community
• Mr Paul Hifo Ma’afu, for services to the Pacific community
• Mr Derek Teariki, for services to the Cook Islands community
• Reverend Tauinaola Tofilau, for services to the Pacific community
• Reverend Penesikoto Togiatama, for services to the Niuean community

DSD
• Lieutenant Commander Jan Joseph Tupuola Peterson, for services to the New Zealand Defence Force

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