Pacific people in New Year Honours List

Valerie Adams, the Tongan-Kiwi Olympic gold medallist shotputter who is now a Dame, is but one Pacific name in the New Year Honours list which recognised Pacific individuals for services to their communities.

 

 

Dame Valerie is only the second NZ Dame to be recognised for services to sport and hopes it inspires more Pacific women to chase their dreams.

 

Made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009, Dame Valerie says her Tongan-English South Auckland ties background played a massive part in her achievements both on and off the field.

 

 

Niue's Premier Toke Talagi was made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

 

Premier of Niue since 2008 Sir Toke has been a Common Roll member of the Niue Assembly since 1999.

 

The Knighthood came as a complete surprise.

 

"I wasn't expecting this, I'm very happy that I have been able to assist my country and develop it to what it is at the present moment," he said.

 

Toke Talagi has overseen a significant expansion of the tourism industry resulting in increased jobs and income for the people of Niue.

 

 

Recognised for his services to sport, education and the Pacific community, John Fiso was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

 

Fiso founded the New Zealand Institute of Sport (NZIS) in 1996 and has been instrumental in the development of a number of community events such as the Pacific Health and Talent Festival in Christchurch and the PACWELL secondary school cultural festival in Wellington.

 

 

Nahusita Selupe was recognised for services to education and Maori and Pacific communities.

 

Selupe founded the Rise UP Trust and one of New Zealand's first charter schools, Rise UP Academy, of which she is Chief Executive and Principal.

 

"When I do the work that I do, I'm very, very mindful that we are serving our great children when we do this work in education, and it's an exciting time to be alive, it's an exciting time to be Pasifika and I feel blessed.

 

"For us Pasifika we at times need a lot of home, a lot of encouragement and I think most of all a lot of love and I get to work with a really wonderful community of people through my work, and I've met some fabulous women and men around Aotearoa who've just helped what we want to do in education for Pasifika, it's been amazing."

 

 

Reverend Pelu Tuai who has been involved with the Presbyterian Church in New Zealand since 1982 was recognised for services to the Pacific community.

 

Reverend Tuai worked to establish a purpose built church and hall facility for his Samoan parish and the wider Pacific community over the course of 11 years.

 

In 2009 Reverend Tuai helped establish a Pacific Island Synod within the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.