Master carver Ta Hekenukumai Busby, renowned practitioner of the endangered Māori art form of waka building, has been recognised in today’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
“An esteemed kaumatua, a master waka builder, a spirited adventurer with a curious mind; it is a privilege to honour Hek Busby today as he becomes a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to Māori”, Minister for Crown/Māori relations, Kelvin Davis says.
Busby is involved in the Waitangi National Trust, The Polynesian Voyaging Society in Hawai’i and the Te Tai Tokerau Māori District Council in addition to holding leadership roles in his iwi of Te Rarawa, Ngati Kahu, Te Aupouri, Ngati Kuri and Ngāpuhi.
“But what he is most revered for,” says Davis, “is his commitment and love of waka building. Hek’s work can be seen in Tai Tokerau where he runs a school in Aurere, teaching the next generation of Waka builders. Across the globe, his Waka can be found as far away as the Netherlands.
“Hek has always said if it wasn’t for waka, Māori wouldn’t be here today. In my opinion, it is because of Hek, that our waka and our traditions will be here tomorrow.”
Others honoured on the Queen’s birthday for their services to Māori include Timua Te Puhi Kai Ariki Brennan and Matutaera Te Nana Clendon, Carol Ann Ngawati, Desma Kemp Ratima and the Archdeacon Tikituterangi Taumati, who are appointed Officers of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM).
Dr Sharon Ellen Barcello Gemmell, Gabrielle Ann Huria, Rebecca Elizabeth Mellish become Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for their services to Māori while Leith Comer becomes a Companion of the Queen’s Service Order (QSO).
Stewart Bull and Richard Henry Sheperd have been awarded the Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) and Raymond Kouraehana Coffin’s service to Maori Wardens is also recognised with a QSM.