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Maori Party congratulates Albert Wendt

MEDIA STATEMENT

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Maori Party congratulates Maualaivao Emeritus Professor Albert Wendt

The Maori Party are extending our congratulations to Maualaivao Emeritus Professor Albert Wendt, who was today invested, and is now the first Samoan, and Pacific representative to receive New Zealand’s highest honour, the Order of New Zealand.

Maori Party Co-Leader Te Ururoa Flavell said “we extend our heartfelt congratulations to Emeritus Professor Albert Wendt, whose writings, teachings and leadership have contributed to the fabric of cultural diversity here in Aotearoa, and earned international recognition for a man who has always worked hard to advance the aspirations of Pasifika peoples.”

“He was awarded an Order of Merit for Services to Literature and Education by the Government of Samoa in 1994, and a New Zealand Queens Birthday honour in 2001. Today he has been rightfully elevated to the Order of New Zealand.”

Dr. Pita Sharples, MP for Tamaki Makaurau said “he is a prolific author of short stories, poems, plays, and novels. His stories have opened our eyes to tales of the Pacific, they confront social, political and cultural issues and challenge our thinking and our actions.”

“He is also a practised philosopher, academic and teacher who has shared his knowledge with us here in Aotearoa, and indeed across the Pacific and the world. He has received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Bourgogne, Dijon, France, has won numerous awards for his writings, and in 1988 was appointed as Chair of the New Zealand and Pacific Literature Board.”

Tariana Turia made particular mention of the honour accorded to Maualaivao Emeritus Professor Albert Wendt, as a son of Samoa. Emeritus Professor Wendt, as a descendant of Maualaivao Fili from Malie, accepted the Saofai (title bestowal), as a means of giving back to his village.

“I understand that when he was honoured with the chiefly title last year, he did so as a means of helping to rebuild family ties in the village. It meant a great deal to the people of Malie to honour him, not just for his contribution to the village but the nation as a whole.

“He has shared of himself and his culture through his work, and has also created opportunities for the advancement of Pasifika education, here and abroad.”

“He was instrumental in the establishment of the Pacific Studies Department at The University of Auckland, and also the Fale Pasifika which is beautiful symbol of the place of Pasifika people within the University, and within Auckland.”

“We commend the outstanding contribution that Maualaivao Emeritus Professor Albert has made to the communities of Aotearoa. We would also like to acknowledge his aiga, who are no doubt proud of his contribution to our nation. What he has achieved would not have been possible without their support. ”

ENDS

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