Māori recognised for contributions to communities

By Heeni Brown

Under the auspices of the Queen of England, people were invited to acknowledge the merits of their family and friends.

The Governor General awarded those few who were chosen to be a part of the Queen's Honours List.

So much so, under great pomp and ceremony, Hekenukumai Puhipi was officially made Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Hekenukumai says,“It's not just mine alone, I was just a captain of a traditional waka” 

Last year, his two canoes traversed the Pacific Ocean to Easter Island. A journey that hasn't been seen for centuries, especially because of the fact that only traditional Māori navigational techniques were employed by all on-board to get there.

“Now, we've nearly started our own Whare Wānanga to teach the knowledge of traditional double hulled canoes and to navigate via the stars” states Hekenukumai.

Michael Skerrett is an iwi liaison officer for the Invercargill City Council, he, today recieved the Queen's Service Medal for his services to Māori

Michael of Ngai Tahu says, “I’m a bit whakamā. I’m not sure whether it is really me but when I came here today it felt really special”

Skerrett hopes that more Māori will come forward for more of these types of awards.