Dennis Marsh to be invested as a member of the NZ Order of Merit today

By Jessica Tyson

Legendary Māori country singer Dennis Marsh will be invested as a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit today for his service to music and fundraising.

Marsh is one of New Zealand's highest-selling country music artists, having sold over 300,000 albums.

He says being made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit is extra special since it's not only for his service to music but also for charity work.

“I think it’s a great honour to be part of something that I wasn’t aware of. I think you do a lot of things for people, you’re not aware that other people are watching. I think it’s a really good surprise.”

Throughout his life, he's performed regularly at fundraisers supporting charities such as St John, Westpac Helicopter and the Heart Foundation.

“I think the reason that I'm part of charity work for so long is that I'm giving somebody else an opportunity to be a little bit better than what they would be and you see them happy. To me that's my job done.”

Marsh has also received awards at the Matariki Awards and is a Kiwibank local hero medal recipient.

Marsh received multiple awards including Te Mata o te Ariki special award at the 2019 Matariki Awards.

He also became a Kiwibank local hero medal recipient and was honoured as a musical legend when he received the highest honour at the Benny Awards.

“The Matariki Award has been really magic. Being a Māori and from Māori Television, it was amazing.”

He says he owes his success to his wife, Yvonne, who helps manage his performances. She is also creating a book about his lifetime successes.

“She's my backbone to what I've achieved so this is both of ours. It’s not just mine.”

The ceremony today will take place at Government House in Auckland.