Reluctant Queen's Birthday honouree acknowledges her parents

By Aroha Awarau

When businesswoman Hinerangi Edwards was told she made the Queen’s Birthday Honours list and was going to become a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, she wanted to turn it down.  But her mate, former Māori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell, convinced her to accept the honour.  

“I was raised in a time when Te Tiriti o Waitangi was part of our conversation. From age 15, I participated in decolonisation hui.  I rang Te Ururoa to try and understand how I could reconcile receiving this honour during the Queen’s Birthday and what that means for Te Tino Rangatiratanga. He asked a simple question: ‘What would your parents say?’”

“I realised that I had to accept this award and to do so graciously. I hope that this gives an opportunity to raise voices around Te Tiriti o Waitangi and what we need to do for our mokopuna to have a better life.”

Aotearoa, āpōpō and tātou

Hinerangi, of Ngāruahine, Ngāti Ruanui, Tauranga Moana and Te Arawa, lives in Wairoa with her whānau and was honoured for services to Māori, governance and education. 

With her company, AATEA, which she founded with her husband Kiwa Hammond, Hinerangi works tirelessly with rangatahi and communities that have Taranaki, te Wairoa and Moriori whakapapa.

“The connection point of all of these kaupapa can be summed up in three words; Aotearoa, āpōpō and tātou,” she says.

“Aotearoa, if we are not honouring our tangata whenua, then what are we as a country? We need to build and strengthen from that base. Āpōpō; it’s about our mokopuna. What is their future going to look like? And tātou, when we can get to a point of tātou in Aotearoa?”