Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu congratulates all recipients of Queen’s Birthday and Platinum Jubilee Honours announced today, and takes particular pride in the achievements and recognition of whānau across the South Island.

We pay special tribute to our beloved Tā Tipene O’Regan, who was awarded the highest honour in New Zealand’s royal honours system, the Order of New Zealand, which is to recognise outstanding service to the Crown and people of New Zealand. This is an auspicious honour indeed. We recognise the unstinting dedication of Tā Tipene, Lady Sandra and the O’Regan whānau for remarkable leadership, particularly as the chief negotiator for Te Kerēme (the Ngāi Tahu Claim); and his profound contribution to the Ngāi Tahu Archive.

We congratulate Dr Oliver Sutherland, new Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to the law and Māori and Pacific communities. The honour recognises Dr Sutherland,  a Pākehā entomologist, for more than 50 years of fighting institutional racism in the judicial system through his work with the Nelson Māori Committee, and more recently his work with the Royal Commission into Abuse in State Care.

We salute Libby Hakaraia  (Ngāti Kapumanawawhiti, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Te Ati Awa);  who received a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) as a film producer and director.  With partner, Tainui Stephens, she founded the Māoriland Film Festival, an Ōtaki-based showcase of indigenous productions and talent. Libby is well known for her work in documentary series such as Kete Aronui, Tatai Hono, or the ANZAC day veteran stories, as well as her most recent film, Cousins.

The power couple, Mataio (Matt) Faafetai Malietoa Brown (Samoa) and Sarah Brown (Ngāpuhi / Te Rarawa), based in Ōtautahi, were both awarded a MNZM for their legendary service in the prevention of family violence. Mataio, founder of My Father’s Barber, has used the barber’s chair to foster connection, and provide a space for healing. Together with Sarah, the establishment of ‘She is Not your Rehab’ has been instrumental in creating violence free homes. We are particularly proud to support Sarah and her sister, Ngaroma in the business they have founded,   Sister Sister, a digital marketing agency.

We are delighted to congratulate Di Grennell, Ngāti Mutunga ki Wharekauri and Ngāi Tahu, for her vital work in the early days of Whānau Ora Commissioning, as well as her leadership in promoting tikanga approaches to violence prevention. Di received a MNZM for services to Māori and the public service.

Holly Robinson, New Zealand representative in para-athletics since 2011, has received a MNZM for services to athletics. Holly was the Māori Sportsperson with a Disability in 2017 and in 2020 was named Otago Athlete of the Year and Otago Para-Athlete of the Year.

The selfless dedication of Estelle Pura Pera-Leask has been recognised with a MNZM for services to conservation and Māori. Estelle represents Awarua Rūnanga on the Whenua Hou (Codfish Island) komiti; she is a member of the Southland Conservation Board, chairs the Bluff Hill Motupōhue environment trust and is a nursery manager for Te Korowai Whakahou native plant nursery in Bluff. She is generous with her knowledge of habitat restoration, predator control, species identification and rongoā; her dedication to te taiao is vital.

Also in Murihiku, we acknowledge Wini Solomon (Te Arawa) who received the Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for services to Māori culture and heritage. Mrs Wini Solomon has taught the art of raranga (weaving) for more than four decades, a tutor at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa for over ten years, as well as at local marae, kura, and community centres.

Around each of the recipients of the Queen’s Birthday and Platinum Jubilee Honours are whānau who support and nurture the leadership of their loved one. We commend, also, their efforts and sacrifices made for the betterment of the wider community. Ka mau te wehi!