Honours list recognises hardworking community heroes

By Te Ao - Māori News

Photo: Adam Blair



Veteran rugby league player Adam Ngawati Blair has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in today's Queen's Birthday Honours for his services to the game.

Blair is the second person to play 50 rugby league tests for New Zealand and is the New Zealander with the most NRL appearances in the Australian Premiership with 331.

He made his debut for New Zealand in 2006 and was a key player in New Zealand’s first  World Cup victory in 2008 against Australia. He was named New Zealand Rugby League International Player of the Year in 2009. He was a front-row starter for the Kiwis in all Four Nations matches in 2014. He was co-captain in 2015 of the Kiwis squad that toured England, played in the 2017 Anzac Test, and was named captain of the Kiwis’ 2017 World Cup squad.

Blair skippered the Māori All Stars against the Indigenous All Stars in 2019 and co-captained their victory in 2020. He then played in every game for the Warriors 2020 season before retiring from playing. His career has been recognised by the Northland Secondary Schools Rugby League Tournament playing for the Adam Blair trophy.

He is an ambassador for Diabetes New Zealand and has supported a range of Warriors community programmes, with a special interest in wellbeing and mindfulness, particularly for young Māori. Blair is involved with the Rugby League Players’ Association.

Digital learning

Dorothy Joy Burt has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

She co-established the Manaiakalani programme in 2006, which is Treaty of Waitangi-based and involves schools, teachers, students, whānau and their community in a partnership enhanced by technology.

Established to accelerate academic progress and deliver digital learning outcomes in low socioeconomic communities, Manaiakalani now has an outreach programme with more than 100 schools across Aotearoa. From the start Burt has led the Manaiakalani education programme for schools in Auckland and the 12 outreach communities around Aotearoa.

Research on Manaiakalani by the Woolf Fisher Research Centre has shown significant improvement in student achievement, particularly in writing. She established the Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher Academy in 2013, which has allowed groups of teachers in successive years to extend the possibilities of students through innovative solutions.

Burt co-established the Digital Teacher Academy in 2014, an effective induction pilot for new teachers, and has since scaled this approach to a Digital Fluency Intensive programme offered to all Manaiakalani teachers. She has led a team training thousands of teachers in effective pedagogy for digital learning. This supported a seamless transition to online learning for Manaiakalani schools during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. She is widely known for her work in digital learning and has presented to many conferences nationally and internationally. 

Employment champion and conservationist

Yvette Couch-Lewis has also been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.The Lyttelton resident receives the honour for her services to conservation and to Māori.

Couch-Lewis is chairperson for the governance board of the Lyttleton/Whakaraupō Whaka Ora Healthy Harbour Catchment Management Plan, which was produced under her leadership in 2018. This plan is a significant collaboration between Te Hapū o Ngati Wheke, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu with Tangata Tiaki, Environment Canterbury, the Christchurch City Council, and the Lyttelton Port Company.

Couch-Lewis has been involved with the Department of Conservation’s recovery group for Kākāriki karaka/orange-fronted parakeet since 2008 and the governance group since 2018. She has been involved in DoC’s governance group for Hoiho/yellow-eyed penguins since 2014.

She was appointed as a member of the Waste Advisory Board between 2016 and 2019. In 2019, she was appointed to the role of Tangata Tiaki/Kaitiaki for Mataitia by the Ministry for Primary Industries. In 2020 she was appointed as one of the newly created ''Tumu Taiao" roles aimed at supporting better council decision-making outcomes for mana whenua and for Environment Canterbury.

Couch-Lewis has been a Ngāi Tahu representative on the Te Waihora co-governance Group since 2007. She has championed employment opportunities for hapū in conservation and a joint management approach between DoC and Ngāti Wheke for Ripapa and Otamahua/Quail Island in Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour. Ms Couch-Lewis has led riparian planting projects including the Omaru Stream project at Whakaraupō.

Hoani Langsbury

Another new Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit is Hoani Sydney Langsbury, honoured for his services to conservation.

Langsbury (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Mamoe, Waitaha, Rapuwai and Kāti Hāwea), is a local conservation expert and iwi representative in the Otago region.

He has volunteered as an advisor to the Department of Conservation’s Ngāi Tahu Te Roopu Kaitiaki since 2001. He has been chair of the Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Group since 2014. He is a founding trustee of the Predator Free Dunedin Charitable Trust and Wild Dunedin. He is a trustee and board member of the Yellow-Eyed Penguin Trust and deputy chair of the Dunedin City Council’s Environmental Strategy group. He volunteered as a member of DoC’s Species Recovery Groups for 12 years.

Langsbury has been a commissioner of Environment Canterbury since 2008 and has been a founding Trustee of Wild Dunedin Trust since 2016. He is past chair and current ecotourism manager for the Otago Peninsula Trust, managing and overseeing the Royal Albatross Centre and Blue Penguins Pukekura. In this role he combines his extensive understanding of conservation with an interest in tourism and sustainability to represent the region to national and international audiences, including touring celebrities and on international media programmes. Within the wider community. Mr Langsbury is deputy chair of the Otago Peninsula Community Board, a cultural advisor to St Hilda’s Collegiate School, a swim coach, and a registered athletics official.

He has a BSc in zoology and ecology, and is also active as a committee member for the Ōtākou Community Support Group, trustee of the Otago Peninsula Trust and chair of the Te Rauone Coastal Care Group.  He is the former chairperson of the Otago Conservation Board and a member of several national species recovery groups (including Yellow Eyed Penguins).

He has been an advocate for long-term strategies when dealing with community infrastructure and is involved in the development of the Dunedin City Council’s Three Waters Strategy, and a member of the Dunedin City Council’s physical activity strategy seering group

Hoani’s whakapapa is to Kāi Tahu, Kāti Mamoe, Waitaha, Rapuwai and Kāti Hāwea.

Ted Ngataki

Tohunga whakairo Ted Turua Ngataki has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori and the community.

A master carver for more than 45 years,  Ngataki has also been the chairperson, trustee and member of the Whatapaka Marae Trust and Whatapaka Marae Committee over the past 45 years.

He was a founding member and Trustee of the Ngāti Tamaoho Charitable Trust and was a Trustee of Second Natures Trust from 2000 to 2016. He was the lead negotiator for Ngāti Tamaoho Charitable Trust from 2011 until the passing of the Ngāti Tamaoho Claims Settlement Act in 2018. He is currently a Trustee of both Nga Whao o Tapu since 2014 and Family First Trust since 2016.

He is a well-known Māori carver, with some of his carvings displayed at Auckland Airport, Auckland Museum, Manurewa High School, Kids First Hospital, Middlemore Hospital, Vector Wero Manukau (white water kayaking), Pukekohe Hill, Onehunga and Auckland Southern Motorway. He has helped to provide pathways for other carving enthusiasts and is a leader and mentor for young people in the community. Mr Ngataki played a pivotal role in the design concept of the Vodafone Events Centre, incorporating the voyage of the waka and the many cultures that now reside in South Auckland into the design.

Teremoana Rapley

Tere Veronica (Teremoana) Rapley will become a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her service to music and television.

Rapley has worked in the television and music sectors for more than 25 years.

Rapley joined pioneering rap group Upper Hutt Posse in 1987, singing on the group's early tracks and featuring on the 1989 album Against the Flow. In 1989 she joined Moana Maniapoto's pop trio, Moana and the Moahunters. She featured on their album Tahi, achieving chart success with several singles. Her work with this group saw her awarded Most Promising Female Vocalist at the 1992 New Zealand Music Awards. Alongside these groups, she was inducted into the Aotearoa Music Hall of Fame, received the Legacy Award and the Taite Music Prize twice.

She began a solo career in 1994 and was awarded Best Female Vocalist at the 1996 New Zealand Music Awards. She has provided guest vocals with various artists, including Che Fu and King Kapisi.

In 1995 she joined the long-running children's television show What Now as a field reporter. From 1996 to 2001, she was a presenter on TV2's Māori youth programme, Mai Time, later holding roles including director, camera operator, editor, scriptwriter, production manager, and producer.

She was a producer at the Māori Television Service from 2005 to 2015, producing 1,457 television programmes. Ms Rapley is creative economy lead strategist at economic and cultural agency Auckland Unlimited.

Business and netball leader

Maxine Khrona Shortland is to be a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to netball and governance.

Shortland (Ngati Hine, Nga Puhi, Ngati Wai, Ngati Porou) is a director of Netball New Zealand with 40 years of experience in netball as a player, manager, coach, administrator, governance and parent netball convenor.

She was a board member of the Netball North, Kawakawa and Whangarei Netball Centres. As a former representative, she coached Bay of Island College netball team in 1993 when their coach became unwell and they went on to win the inaugural national schools title in 1993 and again in 1994.

Shortland  is a business leader with 25 years of governance and senior management experience. She has served on several boards in the charitable, commercial, and government sectors. She chairs the Public Health Association of New Zealand and is director of Waitangi Ltd. She is a trustee with Foundation North, a member of Global Women New Zealand, Kororareka Marae Committee, NZ Lottery Grants Board, and the New Zealand Conservation Authority.

She was chief operating officer from 2012 to 2017at Ngati Hine Health Trust, which co-developed Te Mirumiru eco-early childcare centre, the first World Leadership 6 Green Star education rating facility.

Shortland is a past member of the Northland Conservation Board, Far North District Council Kawakawa Community Board, Springboard Trust, and Deputy Chair of Te Tai Tokerau Primary Healthcare Organisation. She was awarded the Aotearoa New Zealand Māori Business leaders Award (Education and Health) in 2010.

Conservation and kaitiaki lens

For services to conservation and governance, Kaikoura's Gina Solomon is to be a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Solomon has applied a conservation and kaitiaki lens across a range of conservation governance appointments over two decades.

Ms Solomon has been Ngāi Tahu representative on the Nelson Marlborough Conservation Board for 14 years and Chair since 2017. She has been the administrator, project manager and a foundation member of Te Korowai o Te Tai o Marokura for more than 10 years, which led the establishment of the Kaikoura marine protection legislation and the Kaikoura Marine Guardians. She was invited to facilitate a similar Te Korowai process for the Chatham Islands.

She has been a ministerial appointee on the Nelson Marlborough Conservation Board, Kaikoura Marine Guardians, QEII National Trust Board, Nature Heritage Fund, Molesworth Steering Committee, and the Forestry Ministerial Advisory Group. She has been a member of the National Māori Network Collection Advisory Committee of the Environmental Risk Management Agency and the Hutton’s Shearwater Charitable Trust.

She has been involved with the local St Paul’s restoration group, which has worked to re-establish an area of native forest in South Bay, Kaikoura. She has been on the Water Zone Committee for the Canterbury Water Management Strategy since its establishment. Ms Solomon was actively involved with Takahanga Marae and on the Kaikoura Plains Recovery Project governance group following the 2016 earthquake.

Kaupapa Māori foundation

Mairehe Louise Marie Tankersley becomes a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to prisoners' welfare and Māori.

Tankersley (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Irakēhu, Kāti Huikai, Kāi Tūtehuarewa) is chair of Te Rūnaka ki Ōtautahi o Kāi Tahu Trust and has been committed to initiatives with a Kaupapa Māori foundation.

 Tankersley has a long history of such initiatives with the Department of Corrections, particularly at Christchurch Women’s Prison where she has been a kaiwhakamana and lead facilitator of the Tikanga Māori programme for 14 years.

She is a social worker, Māori educator and director of Jade Associates – Pounamu Kahuraki, a Māori consultancy providing cultural supervision and training to individuals and groups in education, social services and mental health. Her organisation is contracted to deliver Tikanga Māori programmes for men and women across Canterbury prisons and Community Corrections. Her programmes are always over-subscribed, and several women have participated multiple times because of the value they place on them.

Tankersley provides a safe place for women who have experienced significant trauma and loss, and who are frequently disconnected from their culture, helping them connect with who they are and to change their lives to benefit them and their children. She has developed relationships transcending usual staff-prisoner boundaries and has continued to provide encouragement and support after release. Ms Tankersley is a member of a multi-agency group established to deliver on the Department of Corrections Mana Wahine pathway.

Kaumatua and rangatira

Gabriel Pikiao Edward (Gabe) Te Moana has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori and governance.

The Turangi resident has contributed to Rereahu, Maniapoto and Tuwharetoa iwi as a kaumātua, Chairperson, Trustee, historian, Reo Māori exponent and rangatira of whanau affairs.Mr Te Moana is constantly called upon within these iwi for assistance and guidance in whakapapa, tikanga, Te Reo, traditional plant medicines, Māori folklore and oral history.

He is  Te Hape Marae Chairperson and has been involved with capital works projects in marae developments over the years. He is an advisor and marae chairperson on Te Maru o Rereahu Iwi Trust, working towards the Iwi’s Treaty settlement and post-settlement governance entity. He has been a representative for Rereahu in an advisory role during the claims process with the Maniapoto Maori Trust Board.

He has been involved with Taringamotu Otamakahi Trust Farm since 1979 as an executive and advisory trustee, and as chairperson since 2009. He has been employed with Downer since 1976 in various roles and has been a member of the Downer Māori leadership board, Ngā Kaitiaki O Te Ara Whanake, ensuring Māori were better represented in leadership roles at all levels and facilitating six Māori leadership programmes.Te Moana has been called upon to advise on tikanga by community civic leaders, emergency services, and education and health providers.

Karen Vercoe

Karen Vercoe has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to governance and sport. She has held leadership roles with the not-for-profit sector and has volunteered in sport and coaching.

Vercoe is chief executive of the Te Arawa Lakes Trust. She has chaired Te Pūmautanga o Te Arawa, the iwi post-settlement governance entity since 2015, and is a director with Central North Island Iwi Holdings, a large forestry assets company. She is chair of the Data Iwi Leaders Group, a subsidiary of the National Iwi Chairs Forum, consisting of 72 Iwi.

She was previously an elected member on the Sport Industry Training Organisation Māori Board and OSCAR Foundation. She represented New Zealand in both Women's rugby and touch rugby.

Vercoe worked in secondary schools as a Sport Fit coordinator, for an Outdoor Pursuits Trust and was selected to participate in the inaugural SPARC CEO Leadership programme. She has been a Hillary Role Model. She was Māori Health Manager at Pharmac and general manager of Te Papa Tākaro O Te Arawa.

She established her company KTV Consulting in 2009, which focuses on Māori organisational development. Through her consultancy, she has worked with several Māori organisations over the past eight years, helping these develop significantly. She won the Dame Mira Szaszy Māori Alumni Award in 2015 as a graduate of the University of Auckland Business School.

Helping sexual violence victims

Michelle Susan Grant has been made a Companion of the Queen’s Service Order for services to victims of sexual violence.

Grant has worked for Whānau Ahuru Mowai O Turanganui A Kiwa (Gisborne Rape Crisis) for 25 years, supporting those affected by sexual violence. 

She joined Gisborne Rape Crisis Collective as a volunteer in 1995 and has been coordinator since 2009. She supports staff to develop suicide prevention workshops, self-awareness workshops and awareness for the signs of sexual abuse. She developed and helped to implement the ‘He Au Raukati’ suicide youth prevention programme and worked alongside youth to help deliver the programme across schools and marae within Te Tairawhiti.

Identifying an emerging need to work with men, Grant developed programmes and counselling for men, an initiative that has been followed by other sexual assault support services nationally. In 2015 she developed and implemented the Te Tiriti O Waitangi workshop into the National Rape Crisis Training Manual. She has helped her local Rape Crisis to become a fully Kaupapa Māori organisation and in 2019 she joined the Kaupapa Māori Sexual Violence steering group, which informs the seven Kaupapa Māori services nationally. Grant has served on the governance group and as treasurer of the national collective for six years, and was part of the national sexual violence steering group.

Community leader

The Queen's Service Medal has been awarded to Barbara Michelle Cameron of Feilding for services to the community and local government.

Cameron (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui) was a councillor with Manawatu District Council from 1998 to 2001 and 2007 to 2019.

During this time, Mrs Cameron was active on committees across all aspects of local government. She was a trustee of Arohanui Hospice Trust from 2005 to 2013 until her appointment to MidCentral DHB from 2013 to 2019. She has facilitated with a small team the concept of establishing a child-centred children’s regional health centre.

She was appointed to Sport Manawatu in 2018 and supports its Everybody Active strategic focus. She was a teacher of the Deaf from 1977 to 1988 and deputy principal of St Dominic’s School for the Deaf, Feilding from 1983 to 1988. She remains a Trustee of St Dominic’s Charitable Trust following the school’s closure.

She was employed as a Health Educator with the Palmerston North Public Health Unit from 1988 to 1995, working on many national and regional population health campaigns. She was appointed to Eastern and Central Community Trust from 1997 to 2009.

She has been a member of Makino Rotary since 2005 and previously Feilding Rotary from 1990 to 2001. She was president of the respective clubs and involved with numerous community activities. Mrs Cameron served on Palmerston North Boys High School Board of Trustees from 1989 to 1999.

Public service

 Te Rehia Teresa Fay Papesch has been awarded the Queen's Service Medal for her services to the community and public service. Papesch has been a public servant since 1985 and regional commissioner for the Ministry of Social Development for more than 22 years, currently working in the Waikato region.

Ms Papesch is the regional public service lead for the Waikato region, representing as the senior lead for all public service agencies in the region. She is co-chair of the Caring for Communities Oversight Committee and the Regional Leadership Group.

She led the MSD response to Covid-19 in the Waikato region, working across agencies and setting up an iwi hotline, and continues to take on an integral role in resurgence planning. She has been involved with the Waikato Regional Housing Initiative and the Waikato Wellbeing Project.

She has been involved with many community boards and committees in the areas of kaumatua well-being, marae, education, and youth offending. She was a long-standing member of the Fraser High School Board of Trustees and was previously the chair of both the Ngaruawahia High School Board of Trustees and the expert advisory panel for Rauawaawa Kaumatua Social Services. She is secretary/treasurer of Hui Te Rangiora Catholic Marae Incorporated, and a former chair of Taioha Toa, a charitable trust with the Hamilton Police that enhances community safety through reducing youth offending.

Koiwi tangata expert

The Queen's Service Medal has been awarded to Kenneth Terrance (Ken) Trinder for services to Māori and the community.

The New Plymouth resident has been active with his two hapū, Puketapu and Pukerangiora and his marae Muru Raupatu and Kairau of the Te Ātiawa iwi since 1974. He has held most committee roles and is currently chair of Muru Raupatu Marae. He has implemented fundraising policies and ensured hapū property is well maintained.

Since 1998 Trinder has practised the art of carving, Te Toi Wai Whakairo, and has advised many institutions promoting the Te Atiawa style of carving. Since 2010 he has been an active member and supporter of the Kaumatua Kāunihera o Ngā Whare Taonga o Puke Ariki (Kaumatua Advisory Group), which advises the museum on Taranaki tikanga and kawa. He particularly advises on matters to do with returned koiwi tangata.

Since 2012 he has been a hāpu kaitiaki and monitor of historic sites, ensuring that heritage or archaeological work is carried out appropriately. He has repatriated more than 100 individual remains. From 1988 to 2001 he was a volunteer caterer for Taranaki Land Search and Rescue. His involvement with rugby league spans from playing at club and provincial representative level in the mid-1970s to Taranaki team trainer and age-group representative coach, selector and manager between 1985 and 1993, and officiating as a club level referee until 1998.