Saturday, July 20, 2024

Queen’s Honours list champions Pacific education

Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says the Queen’s Birthday 2021 Honours list show that across Aotearoa New Zealand there were many champions of Pacific education.

“Education is so vital to the success of Pacific people that it’s truly fitting that a number of educators have been honoured this year,” the Minister said.

“Education provides an opportunity for Pacific people to realise their potential and to be confident, thriving and resilient in Aotearoa New Zealand.

“As we embark on this year’s Pacific language weeks it’s fitting that Mr Siale Faitotunu (pictured) who was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his work with the Tongan Community and the Tongan language in Christchurch.

“He has supported education for young Pacific people in Christchurch for 30 years and established a programme to support students studying towards NCEA Lea Faka-Tonga at Levels 1 to 3 across 19 schools through after school classes.”

Helen Varney.

The Minister said he was also delighted to see Helen Varney made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Pacific education.

“She has been a well-regarded Principal for many years. In 2020 Mrs Varney was appointed Director and Lead Facilitator of Tautai o le Moana – Navigators of the Ocean, a partnership with the Ministry of Education, New Zealand Pasifika Principals Association and New Zealand’s Principals’ Federation,” said Aupito William Sio.  

Another educator who was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to Pacific and tertiary education was Dr Eve Coxon.

Dr Evelyn Coxon.

During her time at Auckland University she was the founding director of the Research Unit in Pacific education and has served as an education advisor to a number of Pacific nations across the region.

“This year’s honours are a celebration for all of us in Aotearoa New Zealand who recognise and acknowledge the value and importance of education to our Pacific communities,” the Minister said.

List of Pacific recipients, including those who have supported Pacific communities:


  • Dr Evelyn Imelda Coxon, for services to Pacific and tertiary education


  • Reverend Iliafi Talotusitusi Esera, for services to the Samoan community and Christian ministry
  • Itamua Muaiao’omalo Mataiva Robertson, for services to women, youth and the Pacific Community


  • Ms Jane Ross Arnott, for services to Pacific communities and conservation advocacy
  • Mr Siale Katoa Latu Pasa Faitotonu, JP, for services to Pacific education
  • Mr Posenai Samoa Mavaega, for services to Pacific preforming arts
  • Ms Tanya Soliali’i Mavaega, for services to Pacific preforming arts
  • Ms Phillis-Jean Meti, for services to sport, particularly golf
  • Mrs Karoline Fuarosa Park-Tamati (Ladi6), for services to music
  • Ms Tere Veronica Rapley, for services to music and television.
  • Mrs Helen Theresa Cecilia Varney, for services to education, particularly Pacific education.

Honorary MNZM

  • Mrs Louisa Humphry, for services to the Kiribati community and culture


  • Reverend Victor Siaosi Pouesi, for services to the Samoan community
  • Mrs Taualoa Lalopua Sanele, for services to the Union movement and Samoan community

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