Pacific Leadership Makes Pasefika Proud

Pasefika Proud congratulates all the recipients from the Pacific who were honoured at the 2020 Queens Birthday Honours List. The Pacific presence continues to grow within the honours, along with a greater diversity among their achievements within their chosen paths, including community, education, youth, health, music, entertainment, the arts and much more. It leads to a growing number of success stories where their contribution, direct or indirect, to combating family violence generates a growing sense of pride and dedication to ensure they live in a safe and violence-free Pasefika Proud environment.   


Tofilau Bernadette Pereira

A significant highlight for Pacific peoples in the Queen’s Birthday 2020 Honours List is that Pacific women feature strongly, as they have always done in the history of the Pacific region.  

Women like Tofilau Bernadette Pereirathe National President of P.A.C.I.F.I.C.A, Inc. New Zealand’s fourth largest non-governmental organisation. Bernadette was awarded an MNZM for her services to the Pacific community and women.  

A Community Development Practitioner for more than 30 years Bernadette represented the Pacific countries and territories for four years at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, and led the largest delegation of Pacific women to the UN Fourth World Global Conference in 1995, Bernadette brought that same determination and strength to her services for Pasifika and women in New Zealand.  

As someone who is very steeped in her fa’asamoa and aganu’u (culture) Bernadette embodies what it means to be for our families and our people, as we take on the responsibility of building stronger more resilient Pasifika families.  

In education Ms Barbara Ala’alatoa, the Principal of Sylvia Park School, was appointed as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to education. She recently chaired the Education Council from 2015 until 2019 where she worked on designing and promoting ‘The Code of Professional Responsibility’. 

Dr Roberta Hunter was appointed as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to mathematics education, with a career of more than 50 years working to raise mathematics achievement and developing Pacific cultural teaching responses that has significantly improved outcomes for learners in schools throughout New Zealand.” 

Aseta Redican was recognised for her services to health and Pacific people. Now a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit after a long career and years of community service focused on improving health and well-being of Pasifika communities. 

Others with significant contributions to Pacific health and wellbeing included Cook Islander Dr George Ngaei appointed as a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his strong and lengthy advocacy for the health and wellbeing of Pacific peoples. 

It's the second time the Southland general surgeon, who heads PIACT – the Pacific Islands Advisory and Cultural Trust - has been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours. He previously received the Officer of The New Zealand Order of Merit in 2015, but was away during the ceremony. 

Dr George Ngaei (right)

Apart from his involvement in improving Māori and Pacific health as a practicing general surgeon in Invercargill, Dr Ngaei also provides his expertise to work and consult on a wide range of medical issues for those living in the Cook Islands. His regular trips to Rarotonga to support the medical profession and provide his expertise often comes out of his own pocket. Dr Ngaei deems the trips, which he started as student, as a professional responsibility.  

"In most professions, you have your responsibility to your profession but also to the community, he says." 

Professor Alec Ekeroma was appointed as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to health and the Pacific community, which spans for more than 20 years where he has been active in the development of medical services in primary health care for Pacific women and clinical education in New Zealand and the Pacific region. 

With the Government’s focus on training and education as a means to accelerate our COVID-19 recovery and rebuild plans, it’s a huge boost of confidence to the Pacific community to know that we have a pool of qualified people who are leading in the educational innovation space, like the three Pacific recipients who this year receive honours for their services to education.” 

The full list of Pasifika recipients are: 

CNZM - Dr George Ngaei, ONZM, for services to health and the Pacific community 

ONZM  - Ms Barbara Frances Ala'alatoa, MNZM, for services to education 

Professor Alec Joseph Ekeroma, for services to health and the Pacific community 


Ms Donna Tusiata Avia, for services to poetry and the arts 

Mr Iosefa Punefu Enari, for services to Pacific dance 

Dr Roberta Kathleen Hunter, for services to mathematics education 

Tofilau Bernadette Barbara Pereira, for services to the Pacific community and women 

Mrs Aseta Redican, for services to health and Pacific peoples 

Mr Christopher Te'o, for services to health, cycling and the Pacific community 

Honorary MNZM 

Ms Lita Foliaki, for services to the Pacific community 


Mrs Emelita Rosita Selena Simeaanamulu Luisi, for services to youth 

Mrs Molima Molly Pihigia, for services to Niuean art and the community 

Afamasaga Agnes Rasmussen, for services to education and the Pacific community 

The New Zealand Order of Merit 

DNZM (Dames Companion) 

Professor Jane Elizabeth Harding, ONZM 

For services to neonatology and perinatology 

Dr Karen Olive Poutasi, CNZM 

For services to education and the State 

Aroha Hohipera Reriti-Crofts, CBE, JP 

For services to Māori and the community 



It is important we continue to keep our families and children safe in our homes. 

Some Pacific families may be feeling vulnerable. Remember that family violence support services are available. For emergencies please Dial 111. 

Pasefika Proud is a Pacific response to focus on community-led solutions that harnesses the transformative power of traditional Pacific cultural values and frameworks to encourage violence-free, respectful relationships that support Pacific peoples to thrive and to build strong resilient families.