Māori acknowledged at NZ Order of Merit investiture ceremony

By Taroi Black

The Honourable Dr Pita Sharples is now among those celebrating his new title as Sir Pita.

Today, the former Māori Party co-leader received the insignia of Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit alongside other Māori recipients.

Sir Pita was one of the founders of the Māori Party in 2004. He was also a member of Parliament, an advocate for Māori issues including Education and Corrections, and a gun on the kapa haka stage. 

His mokopuna, Koianake Sharples attended today's prestigious event and spoke highly of his grandfather.

"He's been a great example for Māori.  He's the leader advocating for youth in the community." 

Harima Thelma Renei Fraser from Te Arawa received a Queen's Medal for her contribution to the 28th Māori Battalion over the last 11 years.  She's been instrumental in the revival of their stories.  

"When I started, there were 150 Battalions alive, but now there's only 11 left," Fraser says. 

Nora Rameka from Kerikeri also received an Order of Merit for her services to Māori and Education. 

She says, "This is a new beginning, but we still continue to work.  You don't work to try and get an award but you should work because you love it." 

When asked what her hopes are for the future, she replied with, "I hope that Māori continue with their visions.  Grow our economy and protect our next generation.  So that we as Māori are recognised."