Pasefika celebrated in New Years Honours

Sully Paea’s dedication to improving the lives of Pacific youth in South Auckland was the reason given behind his inclusion on the 2023 New Year’s Honours List. His work in setting up learning opportunities for youth is well known. With his wife he started the East Tamaki Youth and Resource Centre in the late 1970s, a complex which remains to this day, and he helped establish Otata24/7 Youth Core, designed to help combat youth involvement in gang violence.

Image Credits | L-R: Mititaiagimene Young Vivian, Nathan Edward Fa’avae, David Rodney Fane (credit GCM), Dr Apisalome Talemaitoga, Lisa-Jane Taouma (credit, Father Paulo Sagato Filoialii (credit RNZ Lydia Lewis), Sefita ‘Alofi Hao’uli (credit NZTBC), Lakiloko Tepae Keakea (credit CNZ), Marilyn Rhonda Kohlhase (credit Facebook), Felorini Ruta McKenzie (credit CORE-Education), Betty-Anne Maryrose Monga (credit RNZ), Sullivan Luao Paea (credit Affirming Works), Rosanna Marie Raymond (credit, Kinaua Bauriri Ewels (credit PMN), Galumalemana Fetaiaimauso Marion Galumalemana (credit Facebook GManaWholesaleAutos), Teurukura Tia Kekena (credit, Nanai Pati Muaau (credit pacifichealthhutt), Lomia Kaipati Semaia Naniseni (credit Facebook), Ma’a Brian Sagala (credit PMN), Mamaitaloa Sagapolutele (credit Facebook), Tofilau Nina Kirifi-Alai (credit University of Otago), Tuifa’asisina Kasileta Maria Lafaele (credit


Sully Paea was one of at least 24 people with a Pacific background to be included on the list.

Among the high profile - the likes of former Nuie Premier Mititaiagimene Young Vivian and actor David Fane – were a number of people honoured for their work in making the community a better place in a variety of ways.

Honoured among the people working in the Pasifika community were a number with an eye-opening background, such as Father Paulo Sagato Filoialii.

Father Filoialii was the first Pacific priest to be ordained in Rome when he achieved that honour in 1990 and it was the first time the Samoan mass was said in the Vatican. Since 1998 he has worked tirelessly on Aotearoa’s South Island, leading the Samoan, Fijian and Tongan Catholic Churches and is the first Samoan priest to serve on the board of Etu Pasifika, an agency providing a wide range of services for families.

Mamaitaloa Sagapolutele’s educational work, particularly with Pacific Island youngsters, was the reason behind her being on the honour roll.

An early childhood education lecturer and teacher for more than 20 years around Christchurch, she was instrumental in setting up the first Samoan Bilingual Unit at Rowley School. She also introduced Samoan speech competitions with her class regularly representing the South Island in competitions.

Respected Tokelauan leader Lomi Kaipati Semaia Naniseni is another to be acknowledged.

For years, this maker of handicrafts that are significant within the Tokelauan community, has encouraged others to embrace their culture, language and practices. As well as making jewellery worn widely across the South Pacific he teaches fatele – traditional Tokelauan dance and somehow finds time to grow hundreds of gardenias in his garden each year for the Pacific community to use to make traditional flower garlands for events.

For the best part of 50 years Teurukura Tia Kekena has been heavily involved in the Cook Island community around the Wellington area.

She was the driving force behind the setting up of the Pacific Islands Presbyterian Church in the Wellington suburb of Newtown in the 1970s before moving up to Porirua and launching the Porirua Pacific Islands Presbyterian Church where she is still church leader. In recent years she helped establish the Akapuanga Kuki Airani Hall, which hosts gatherings for the wider Pacific community in the Wellington region.

Broadcaster Sefita ‘Alofi Hao’uli’s commitment to Pacific broadcasting has led to his honour.

A journalist since the 1980s, he was instrumental in the development of radio station 531pi, set up a Tongan language newspaper and managed the relationship between workers on the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme and the Tongan Government. In recognition of his work he was named the 2021 Tonga Language Champion and received a Special Recognition Award from the New Zealand Tonga Business council for his years of dedicated service.

Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, said those being honoured – in areas ranging from community, language, health, arts, business and culture among others – reflect the ‘’fantastic diversity’’ of areas which Pacific people are making a strong contribution in.

‘’The recipients reflect the diversity of our communities that are the face of New Zealand’s future,’’ the Minister said.

New Years Honours List 2023 – Pacific People Honoured

Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit:

The honourable Mititaiagimene Young Vivian, former Premier of Niue - For services to Niue.

The Honourable Mititaiagimene Vivian was the Premier of Niue from December 1992 to March 1993 and from May 2002 to June 2008.During his time as Premier Mr Vivian oversaw the response to the destruction caused by Cyclone Heta, the construction of the Nareiue Foou Hospital in 2006, and has advocated for youth employment programmes such as the Young Farmer’s Project, the Niue Pig Farming Initiative and the Vanilla and Nonu Organic Farming Project. He redeveloped the old Lialagi school in Lakepa village and was key to the establishment of the Fonuakula Industrial Park. He has held a number of ministerial roles since 1969, including Finance, Economic Development, Agriculture, Police, Marketing, and the Crown Law Office. He has been a member of several committees, including as the Secretary General of the South Pacific Conference based in New Caledonia from 1979 to 1982, a member of the Constitutional Review Committee and one of the founders of the Niue Constitution 1974, and Chairperson of the Niue National Commission for UNESCO. He was the Member for Hakupu on the Niue Legislative Assembly for many years until 2017. He has been a schoolteacher and is currently Ulumotua, a Senior Elder and lay preacher in the village of Hakupu. Mr Vivian was inaugural recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal in the Niue National Awards 2020.

Officers of the New Zealand Order of Merit:

Nathan Edward Fa’avae - For services to adventure racing, outdoor education and the Pacific community
Nathan Fa’avae has dedicated 20 years to New Zealand outdoor adventure sport, women’s health and the betterment of the Pacific community. Mr Fa’avae is a seven-time adventure racing world champion, which consists of non-stop mountain biking, kayaking and trekking. He has represented New Zealand in Adventure Racing since 2001. He captains the New Zealand Adventure Racing Team and has led them to win seven world championships, including the most recent in 2022 hosted in Paraguay. He pioneered women’s adventure racing, establishing the Spring Challenge Women’s Adventure Race in 2007 to encourage participation of women in adventure sport, with more than 25,000 women participating in the last 16 years. This event is hosted at a different location throughout New Zealand each year, allowing female athletes to explore New Zealand’s environments and to support local businesses. He is the Patron of Whenua-Iti Outdoors in Tasman, encouraging youth into outdoor activities. He founded the Fa’avae Foundation to provide funds for Pacific youth to experience outdoor education, continuing on his parents work in helping underprivileged Pacific youth. The projects are supported by Whenua-Iti Outdoors and the Top of the South Community Foundation. Mr Fa’avae is a former Outward-Bound Instructor.

David Rodney Fane - For services to the performing arts
David Fane has worked as a Pacific actor in New Zealand for 30 years.
Mr Fane graduated from Toi Whakaari in 1992 and his since acted in many key productions strengthening the Pacific voice in New Zealand, including ‘Fresh off the Boat’, ‘Niu Sila’, ‘Dawn Raids’, ‘Sons’ and ‘A Frigate Bird Sings’, also working as a writer or director on several of these works. With memorable and varied roles across theatre, film and television, he has contributed to providing visibility to Pacific communities in New Zealand on stage and screen. He is a driving force of the Naked Samoans, an acting company focused on satirical comedy, which has been well received nationally and internationally for sold out live shows and film and television projects. He has featured in iconic television series and films in New Zealand including ‘Outrageous Fortunes’, ‘What Now’, ‘Bro’Town’, ‘The Tattooist’, ‘Eagle vs Shark’ and the ‘Sione’s Wedding’ films. He has also expanded his profile internationally in a range of Australian and United States productions. He has sought to extend possibilities for Pacific performing artists and has worked to create accessible experiences and pathways for the next generation of creatives. Mr Fane was awarded Creative New Zealand’s Pacific Arts Senior Artist in 2016 for his valuable contributions to performing arts.

Dr Apisalome Sikaidoka Talemaitoga - For services to health and the Pacific community
Dr Apisalome Talemaitoga has contributed to the Pacific community as a Pacific General Practitioner. Dr Talemaitoga has established two practices, one in Christchurch established 25 years ago and one established in 2015 in the heart of South Auckland, where his patients are predominantly of Māori and Pacific descent. He is a trusted source for the community, explaining complex terms in an understandable way, and promoting long-term health to this vulnerable population. He was the Chief Advisor of Pacific Health with the Ministry of Health between 2008 and 2013 and was on the Board of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners between 2014 and 2017. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he used his influence in the Pacific community to ensure the messaging regarding the pandemic was communicated by appearing on radio shows, television interviews and presenting directly to the community. He worked to connect Pacific GPs to government officials to ensure access to information and support for Pacific communities. Dr Talemaitoga was appointed Co-Chair of the National COVID-19 Response Group and was the lead clinician during zoom fonos organised by the Ministry for Pacific Peoples.

Lisa-Jane Taouma - For services to Pacific arts and the screen industry
Lisa Taouma is a producer and director of the largest pool of Pacific content on screen in New Zealand, having created the Polyfest series, the longstanding Pacific youth series ‘Fresh’, five award-winning documentaries, the feature film ‘Teine Sa’ and two short films.

Ms Taouma created the ground-breaking site ‘The Coconet TV’, which has connected Pacific peoples across the globe and is recognised as the premium online platform for Pasifika content in New Zealand. Her body of work has been instrumental in building an audience of Pacific peoples who expect and want to see themselves represented on screen, as well as developing strong training models and employing up-and-coming Pacific talent in front of and behind the camera. Her documentary ‘Marks of Mana’ on the female history of tatau (Samoan tattoo) has won awards at international festivals. She has published academically on the arts both nationally and internationally, curated a range of art works and performances, and been a keynote speaker across different disciplines. Ms Taouma has held a range of roles including member of the Pacific Islanders in Film, Television and Online (PIFT) Board, the Pacific Islands Media Association New Zealand, Hawaii Film Association’ ‘Pacific Islanders in Communication’, Creative New Zealand Arts Panel from 2001 to 2019, and Tautai Arts Trust Board Member from 2002 to 2005.


Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit:

Father Paulo Sagato Filoialii - For services to the Pacific community
Father Paulo Filoialii was the first Pacific Priest ordained in Rome in 1990 and has since contributed to the Catholic community in Christchurch and Ashburton.

Upon Father Filoialii being ordained, the Samoan Mass was performed for the first time in the Vatican, resulting in Pope John Paul II decreeing that the Samoan Mass can now be performed anywhere in the world. Upon Father Fioialii’s arrival in the lower South Island in 1998, there was only one Samoan Catholic Parish, which has since grown to five parishes including the Tongan and Fijian Catholic Churches which he leads. He is the first Samoan and Pacific Priest to serve on the Board of Etu Pasifika, an agency which provides a range of services for families including mental health, addictions and smoking cessation services. He engages with the Samoa Victim Support Group in Samoa and is currently the Deputy Chair of the Fraternity of Samoan Ministers in Canterbury, having previously served as Chair. He is the current Chaplain for the Christchurch Women’s and Men’s Prison, providing support to victims and perpetrators at Court and through spiritual counselling. Father Filoialii has helped coordinate provision of resources such as food and petrol to families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sefita ‘Alofi Hao’uli - For services to Tongan and Pacific communities
Sefita Hao’uli has been influential in the development of Pacific broadcasting in New Zealand for more than 30 years.

Mr Hao’uli became a journalist in the 1980s, where he was instrumental in the formation of a community trust to take ownership of the Pacific radio frequency. He served as Chair and led the radio station to become familiar amongst the community, providing information on Pacific Island affairs. Radio station 531pi was launched, broadcasting 24-hours on air, a change from four hours a week. He was instrumental in the launch of a Tongan language newspaper and managed the relationship between the 2,000 Tongan workers under the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme and the Tongan government for 12 years. He was Chairman of the Pacific Island Committee of Creative New Zealand, Board member of the Arts Board with Creative New Zealand and a member of the Minister for Pacific Peoples Advisory Council. He has been a key mentor and leader in the Pacific community, helping lead, provide advice and mobilise initiatives to improve the lives of Tongans and the wider Pacific communities. Mr Hao’uli was recognised as the 2021 Tonga Language Champion and received a Special Recognition Award from the New Zealand Tonga Business Council for his dedicated years of service.

Lakiloko Tepae Keakea - For services to Tuvaluan art
Lakiloko Keakea is regarded as the master of the art of ‘Mea Taulima’ which is the Tuvaluan art of ‘treasures created by hand.’

Ms Keakea is well known for her work with Kolose (Tuvaluan weaving), Fafetu, a decorative art piece in the form of a star, Laga (weaving of Tuvaluan mats), Tuvaluan traditional dancing skirts Titi Tao and Fou, the Tuvaluan traditional head garland. Since migrating to New Zealand in 1996, she has been involved with various community and women’s groups to continue her interest in ‘Mea Taulima’. She has been a leader within various women’s groups including Niutao Women’s Group and Fafine kaumatua in the Tuvaluan Christian Church and has been at the forefront of developing skills and knowledge around Tuvaluan artifacts and handicrafts. She often leads women to decorate pieces for special occasions and her work has been used as gifts for honoured guests. She practices ‘fo’ Tuvaluan traditional massage or healing and has offered her support to Tuvaluan migrants who were unfamiliar with Western medicine. She has worked with the Pacific Arts Centre for more than ten years, promoting and acknowledging Pacific artists and their work. Ms Keakea hosted her first exhibition in 2018 featuring 50 fafetu, the largest measuring 1.8 metres.

Marilyn Rhonda Kohlhase - For services to Pacific arts and education
Marilyn Kohlhase has been contributing to the community for 50 years, particularly the Pacific community.

Ms Kohlhase was a member of the former Creative New Zealand Arts Board and the Chair of the Pacific Arts Committee for six years, a statutory body under the now Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa. She was on the boards of the Pacific Cooperation Foundation, Pacific Media Network and Unitec Council. She served as a contractor designing and delivering Pacific programmes in education and health. She is co-founder of both the Pacific education consultancy Tuioti Kohlhase, now Teuila Consultancy, and Okaioceanikart the first Pan-Pacific Arts Gallery based in Auckland. She was inaugural Chair of the Pacific Advisory Group for the Auckland War Memorial Museum and joined the Auckland Museum Institute Council, where she focuses on Pacific initiatives. Ms Kohlhase has mentored and encourages members of the Pacific community, particularly those in governance and arts to become voices for the Pacific community.

Felorini Ruta McKenzie - For services to Pacific education
Ruta McKenzie has been contributing to the Pacific education sector for 30 years, particularly to early childhood learning and development.

Mrs McKenzie has been the Pacific Cultural Lead and Lead Facilitator with CORE Education, providing cultural and strategic guidance to the activities and work streams, tailored towards Pacific learning. She led the Pasifika Leadership Programme and the Southern Pasifika Project for the Ministry of Education and was co-researcher in the TLRI research in Christchurch, exploring how young children express and develop working theories about language, identity and culture. She has shared discourse and dialogue with the Pacific Advisory Group that has helped create meaningful change for Pacific students’ success. She teaches Samoan and is a member of Sosaiete Aoga Amata Samoa I Aotearoa Incorporated, a group of dedicated Samoan teachers and former educators who provide a range of services including learning, development, mentoring, national workshops, resources and advocacy. She has been the lead for the Group’s implementation of refresher programmes for early childhood educators. She has worked with pedagogical leaders in the updated Te Whāriki 2017, and mentors leaders who work with Pacific learners across New Zealand. Mrs McKenzie is member of several advisory groups including Barnados – Hornby Pasifika Early Childhood Service since 2016.

Betty-Anne Maryrose Monga - For services to music
Betty-Anne Monga (Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngaiterangi, Tainui, Tūwharetoa) is a musician and producer with the award-winning band Ardijah, which formed in 1979 and developed their unique ‘poly-fonk’ sound – a blend of Polynesian sounds with funk and R&B.

Ardijah pioneered mainstream popularity of Polynesian music in New Zealand, achieving six top 20 singles and albums reaching Top Ten chart status. The band continues to be in demand, performing regularly at festivals such as Festival of Lights, One Love, Good Vibes, Kiwi Grooves and Matariki events. International tours have been a mainstay within the Pacific region, Australia, South Africa, and the United States including Hawaii. Ardijah have received numerous awards, including the Industry Achievement Award at the Waiata Māori Music Awards, Album of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Awards at the Pacific Music Awards, and Female Vocalist of the Year at the New Zealand Music Awards. Over the last decade, she has helped raise the profile of young and emerging artists under the umbrella of Matariki celebrations, Pacific Diva’s concert series and Auckland Arts Festival 2021. She has supported fundraising causes, including aid for Samoa following the 2009 tsunami and the Alofa mo Samoa Trust to support measles-affected families in 2020. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms Monga used her profile to support and perform at the ‘Vax My Waka’ vaccination event.

Sullivan Luao Paea - For services to youth
Sully Paea has been dedicated to improving the lives of Pacific youth in the South Auckland community since migrating to New Zealand from Niue in the late 1960s.

Mr Paea has used his past experiences of gang affiliations, drugs, alcohol and family violence to create learning opportunities for youth. He was a key driver of the community-led Crosspower Ministries Trust, an initiative formed in 1994 to address local issues relating to youth such as drug abuse and gang affiliation and support positive development. With his wife, he founded the East Tamaki Youth and Resource Centre between the late 1970s and 1986, building the site from scratch into a complex which remains today. He created woodworking and trades related employment opportunities, working to mentor young men on parole and utilising his home as a foster home between 1982 and the late 1990s. He formed an alternative education programme for a group of young men in 1998 who were disengaged from school, teaching them general schooling subjects as well as skills including woodwork and welding. He helped establish Otara 24/7 Youth Core, a project funded by the government to help with rising youth involvement in gang and violence. Among other projects, Mr Paea is well regarded for his positive influence on the youth of South Auckland.

Rosanna Marie Raymond - For services to Pacific art
Rosanna Raymond is a multidisciplinary artist, curator, founding member of the SaVĀge K’lub and one of the founding members of the Pacific arts collective the Pacific Sisters.

Ms Raymond’s installations range from spoken word to body adornments, interweaving traditional Pacific practices with modern styles and techniques. She draws on her strong cultural bond to artefacts that were taken from their original land and are now displayed in museums throughout the world. She is a former Chesterdale Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and an Honorary Research Associate at the Department of Anthropology and Institute of Archaeology at University College, London. She co-published ‘Pasifika Styles: Artists inside the Museum’ in 2008. In 2010, she launched the SaVĀge K’lub project, a highlight at the Queensland Art Gallery’s Asia 8th Pacific Triennale, an installation space that has hosted artworks, spoken word and performance art from more than 25 artists. She curated Ata Te Tangata, a photography exhibition by Māori and Pacific artists, which toured China in 2016. She was recipient of Creative New Zealand’s Senior Pacific Artist Award in 2018. Ms Raymond was Pacific Artist in Residence at Government House in 2017.


Queen’s Service Medal

Kinaua Bauriri Ewels - For services to the Kiribati community
Kinaua Ewels has been supporting the Kiribati community since migrating to New Zealand.

Mrs Ewels published her first children’s educational book in 2007 titled ‘I want to read and speak Kiribati’ to give an opportunity for children to be able to converse in both English and Kiribati. Her most recent work ‘Konenerio and the Flag Master’ is based on the faith of her grandfather and the pivotal role of I-Kiribati people during the second World War. She contributed to the Kiribati Educational Resources Project in 2021, producing various resources of poems, rhymes, songs and a grammar book. She has been an integral member of the Marewen Kiribati Community Group since 2006, providing a voice for the Kiribati minority amongst other larger Pacific country representatives. She initiated Te Wakauea Play Group in 2008 to introduce the Kiribati language through an education outlet for Kiribati children and mothers based in Auckland. She was the primary lead and project manager for the New Zealand Kiribati National Council to organise Kiribati Language Week festivities and events. She used her role as a community leader to promote best practices to protect against COVID-19 and pushed for higher vaccination rates amongst the Pacific community. Mrs Ewels represents the New Zealand Kiribati National Council on the Pacific Leadership Forum.

Galumalemana Fetaiaimauso Marion Galumalemana - For services to the Pacific community
Galumalemana Galumalemana has been supporting the Pacific community for more than 10 years through cultural aspects, business and sports.

Mr Galumalemana has hosted an array of annual celebrations which bring the community together since 2014, including for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and White Sunday, an initiative to give back to the community through gifts and care vouchers for families in need. He has been supporting the development of Pacific youth education and sports through the Marist Old Pupils Association Samoa New Zealand, with the most recent 70th anniversary celebrations raising funds to supply to Samoan schools in 2020. He has utilised his experience in running GMANA Car Dealership to help bridge connections with local businesses and youth, to provide support on new business ventures that can offer communities low-cost services. He has supported and contributed to several organisations including fundraising for Radio Samoa in 2016, supported Samoan band OZKI on tour in New Zealand and contributed to the sponsorship of several school sports uniforms in New Zealand and Samoa. Between 2017 and 2021, he led fundraising events for the national rugby team of Samoa, raising $10,000 at each event and raising the profile of the team. Mr Galumalemana has been using his radio channel to raise awareness of COVID-19 and the importance of vaccinations.

Hana Melania Halalele - For services to Pacific health
Hana Halalele became the first Pacific Councillor of Waitaki District Council in 2019 and is Manager for Oamaru Pacific Island Community Group (OPICG), advocating for the needs of the Pacific, migrant and wider community.

Ms Halalele has supported her Pacific community since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, creating a frontline team with OPICG to share information and guidelines across the community. She advocated for support and resources from the Southern District Health Board and Well South to run a vaccination clinic. She led her team to create their own community outreach vaccination workforce, deliver drive-through testing stations and vaccination clinics across the Waitaki District. She worked with community groups and volunteers to promote vaccination efforts amongst the wider community. She and her team also provided COVID-19 welfare response including food parcels, food vouchers, health navigation support and advocacy for digital devices during lockdown and isolation periods. She has been an influential advocate at regional and national forums for the diverse needs of her community. Ms Halalele was the establishment Chair for Talanga ‘a Waitaki, facilitating a community-led initiative for Pacific parents to deliver the Talanoa Ako education programme for her community.

Teurukura Tia Kekena - For services to the Cook Islands and Pacific communities
Teurukura Kekena has been involved with the Cook Islands community since migrating to New Zealand in the early 1970s.

Mrs Kekena was instrumental in the establishment of the Pacific Islands Presbyterian Church in Newtown, Wellington in the 1970s, before settling in Porirua and launching the Porirua Pacific Islands Presbyterian Church. She became the Church’s session clerk and serves as the ‘Maine Akatere Au’ or Church Leader, coordinating activities for the congregation, facilitating between the main Church body and engagement with the wider community and was the lead in the transition of the Porirua Pacific Islands Presbyterian Church to the Cook Islands Presbyterian Church. She helped establish the Porirua Cook Islands Association, where she served as Secretary for several years, before becoming President in 2016. With the Association, Mrs Kekena helped with the establishment of the Te Akapuanga Kuki Airani Hall, which today hosts community gatherings for the Pacific communities in the Wellington region.

Nanai Pati Muaau - For services to Pacific health
Nanai Muaau helped establish and is the Executive Director of Pacific Health Service Hutt Valley (PHSHV), a Pacific health provider in Wellington, established in 1999.

Mr Muaau through PHSHV, provides mobile community health services and social welfare services, to more than 12,000 Pacific community members in the Hutt Valley. He has introduced countless initiatives and projects including Anofale Fa’atupu Ola Pasifika, a programme providing support to young parents and access to childbirth services, ante-natal and post-natal education programmes, to ensure the baby and parents have the best start possible. He established Pasifika Choice Project, an obesity prevention programme, focused on supporting children in the region to develop healthy habits. This led to the establishment of the Pasifika Choice Annual Touch Tournament in 2016, which attracts more than 100 teams. In partnership with local Pacific Churches, he initiated Faith Led, a successful wellbeing service focussing on the seven dimensions of wellbeing and has impacted hundreds of Pacific families. Through PHSHV, he established vaccination centres, testing stations, vaccination festivals for Pacific people and has used radio to disseminate accurate and updated information on COVID-19. Due to his leadership of PHSHV, Pacific people reached 90 percent double vaccinated by December 2021 through both the Hutt Valley District Health Board and the Capital and Coast District Health Board. Mr Muaau is a member and Treasurer of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa.

Lomia Kaipati Semaia Naniseni - For services to the Tokelau community
Lomia Naniseni is a respected leader amongst the Tokelau community and has been empowering others to embrace their culture, language and traditional practices of Tokelau.

Mr Naniseni is well-known for his handicrafts within the community, particularly his work with the ‘Mother of Pearl’ shell, producing countless earrings, necklaces and head pieces made of ‘Mother of Pearl’. He is recognised for his craftmanship of ‘Pa’, a highly significant emblem in the Tokelauan culture, originally used as a fishing hook, now worn as necklaces by women and often gifted on significant events. His wide array of Tokelauan jewellery is worn across the South Pacific including Fiji, Samoa, and Hawaii. He has crafted brooches and religious shell necklaces for Pastors and Ministers and often has home visits of people wanting to curate jewellery for their private occasions. He does not charge for the work and gifts these pieces to his customers to uphold the significance of the Pa which is regarded as priceless. He practices and teaches fatele, traditional Tokelauan dance and has composed many of his own songs which are still in use today. Mr Naniseni grows hundreds of Gardenias in his garden each year, for the Pacific community to use to make traditional flower garlands for important events and occasions.

Ma’a Brian Sagala - For services to Pacific communities
Ma’a Brian Sagala has been a producer and presenter of 531pi with the Pacific Media Network since 2015 and has used his profile to support various causes within Pacific communities.

Mr Sagala has been a facilitator of the South Auckland Community Fono since 2010 and for the Pacific Health Advisory since 2012. He has been facilitator of The Cause Collective since 2016. In this capacity, he has helped host community fono with Pacific church leaders on health and wellbeing issues, and helped convene Pacific practitioners from around New Zealand to discuss family and sexual violence. He has supported fashion and social services industries as a sought-after presenter and master of ceremonies. He was MC of Pasifika Festival from 2011 to 2019 and the Miss Samoa Pageant from 2011 to 2016. He has helped the Northern District Health Board with the Prepare Pacific COVID-19 Campaign to communicate with harder to reach segments of the Pacific population during the pandemic, relaying key messaging to the community. While travelling in the Pacific region for work, Mr Sagala has performed outreach work in local communities in his own time.

Mamaitaloa Sagapolutele - For services to education and the Pacific community
Mamaitaloa Sagapolutele has contributed to the Pacific Island community in Christchurch for 20 years, particularly youth.

Ms Sagapolutele was an Early Childhood Education lecturer in 1996, teaching Pacific early childhood teachers to professionalise language nests and had opened a Samoan preschool based at Sydenham Primary School in Christchurch. She was a teacher at Rowley School for more than 20 years, teaching Samoan and was instrumental in the establishment of the school’s first Samoan Bilingual Unit. She also introduced Samoan speech competitions, with her class going onto represent the South Island in several age level competitions. She has set up homework clubs ranging from Year One to Year 13, to create an environment where students can be confident and have fun learning. She has been a member of FAGASA for more than 20 years, holding roles such as Treasurer, Secretary and Administrator and translated education materials into Samoan. Upon retirement, she dedicated her time to the Rowley Resource Centre, offering free ESOL classes for adult learners. She co-established the Vae Tupu’anga Dance and Music Class for all children. Ms Sagapolutele is a current elected member of the Hillmorton High Board of Trustees and has been a representative on the Christchurch Pacific Advisory Board for the Ministry of Education.



Tofilau Nina Kirifi-Alai - For services to education and the Pacific community
Tofilau Nina Kirifi-Alai has been advocating for the advancement of Pacific developments in New Zealand and the Pacific region for several years.

Mrs Kirifi-Alai was the Pacific Manager of the University of Otago for more than 20 years, focusing on engagement and success of Pacific students, exploring the spaces where there are gaps in services to support the students and staff. She is involved in supporting any community ethnic event, celebrations, and fundraising campaigns. She helped establish a homework programme through a Samoan Church community in Auckland, which allowed for support in different subject areas including math, art, science and technology. As Manager of External Engagements for the University of Otago, she has led developments for the University of Otago to support Pacific tertiary institutions in the region and assisted the setup of scholarships for staff from universities in Samoa and Fiji to undertake professional developments at the University. These have resulted in many staff obtaining their Masters and Doctoral degrees, contributing to the enhancement of tertiary education in the Pacific region. Mrs Kirifi-Alai hosts the Samoan Programme on the National Pacific Media Network radio after-hours and was Chair of the Association of Pasefika Staff in Tertiary Education from 2020 to 2022.

Tuifa’asisina Kasileta Maria Lafaele - For services to Pacific health
Tuifa’asisina Maria Lafaele’s background in health and Pacific governance roles has helped her promote and shape vaccination outcomes within Auckland’s Pacific community.

Ms Lafaele works with the Auckland and Waitemata District Health Boards as a Project Manager for planning, funding and outcomes. She has been the Pacific Careers Consultant for the University of Auckland. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she was a voice and leader for the Pacific health response in New Zealand. She led operational, policy and service delivery problem-solving for the Pacific vaccination programme. She disseminated messaging on the virus and health guidelines through Pacific-led podcasts and radio stations, helping Pacific communities remain well informed with reliable information. She is recognised as a trusted advisor to church and faith leaders, health experts, Pacific health providers, community and youth groups, which helped to leverage partnerships and promote community capacity building. Her work in the Pacific vaccination programme helped ensure accessibility for vulnerable and vaccine-hesitant communities, designing an outreach that was culturally appropriate, accessible and dignified, accounting for the experiences and realities of Pacific communities. Ms Lafaele is now Interim-Director of the National Office of the Pacific Health Director, championing pathways for Pasifika and for Pacific women representation at top strategic levels.

Nemai Divuluki Vucago - For services to Fijian and Pacific communities
Nemai Vucago has been a producer and presenter of the Radio 531pi Fijian Language Programme since 2003 and has supported Fijian and Pacific communities in Auckland.

Mrs Vucago has been an Executive Board Member for the Auckland Fiji Community since 1991. She has been Secretary for the Fijian Methodist Church Tovata Confederacy and Manurewa Bible Group since 2010, as well as Secretary for the New Zealand Fijian Advisory Council since 2019. She has been the Pasefika Festival Fiji Village Stage Manager and MC since 2011. Since 2020, she has been one of the Fijian representative committee members on the Pacific Leadership Forum. She has been a Committee Member for Fijian Language Week in Auckland since 2008. She volunteered with Treaty Times Thirty, overseeing the translation of Te Tiriti O Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi into Fijian, as part of the project to translate the Treaty into 30 Pacific languages. She has been a Fijian translator, interpreter and presenter for community messaging during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mrs Vucago was Board Chairperson for Glenbrae Primary School in Auckland from 2001 to 2004. 

Pasefika Proud congratulates all Pasefika leaders and achievers and we celebrate as you hold this space as Pacific people recognised by the Crown.  

Key Pasefika Proud change strategies = Capability Development with Pacific leaders, influencers, practitioners, providers and services + Mobilising Pacific Communities through leadership, engagement/education, community collaboration, messages, resources, tools, support, research, evaluation and expertise.

Shared Pacific Values

Pasefika Proud Principles

Approach and Values