A Māori broadcaster and a hero honoured at investitures

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

Today saw the beginning of investitures at Government House in Auckland for the people named in the New Year and Queen's Birthday honours lists. A number of Māori have been honoured including Reuben Collier.

New grandparent Reuben Collier was overjoyed to have his new-born grandchild with him when he received his investiture today at Government House in Auckland.

Collier told Te Kāea, “I'm glad, but my thoughts are with the dearly departed who paved the way, the elders who nourished my body and mind with traditional methods.”

Over his 20 years in the industry, he's been fortunate to work under Māori broadcasting pioneers, taking the language and the stories of Māori to the nation.

“Through this method of broadcasting and television, the Māori view can be heard in our chiefly language.”

George Paekau is a truck driver. Returning home one evening in 2014, he found his neighbour's house engulfed in flames. In a selfless act of bravery, he rescued two of his nephews from the house. Today, his valour was commended. 

“Instant reaction my bro, when I saw all the other neighbours standing around it pissed me right off. Excuse me, yea just seen them standing around aye nobody was doing nothing. So just took my silly self and just jumped over the fence and did what I did. Didn’t think bro, just did it,” says Paekau, “It sounded like a jet, the roar of a jet. Jumped in the window, shut the door so it slowed down the flames and seen my nephews. The one on the ground was easier to pick up cos he was a baby, the one on the bed was a bit harder.”

Paekau, a proud uncle, and hero to his nephew was humbled in receiving this award.

“My little nephew just keeps on going over and over, uncle saved me aye mum. He tells all his cousins all his friends. Privileged bro.”

The investitures will continue through to Friday.