Southlanders acknowledged in Queen’s Birthday honours

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Bluff poet Cilla McQueen.

ONZM
Ani Patene Gazala Wainui, JP
Invercargill, for services to Maori language education

Te reo Maori educator Ani Wainui.

EXPERIENCED Invercargill te reo Maori educator Ani Wainui is quick to point out her Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit honour reflects a much wider effort than just her own.

“It’s not recognition of just what I’ve done but a whole lot of people behind me,” Mrs Wainui said.

She gained the honour after “working outside the square”, through innovative educational approaches.

“If you’re passionate about something, you go for it simple as that.”

Mrs Wainui has contributed 55 years to teaching te reo Maori to pupils in both mainstream and kura kaupapa Maori schools.

She was the first itinerant teacher of Maori in Southland, encouraging the introduction of Maori language in mainstream primary schools in the 1970s.

She taught Maori at Cargill High School in Invercargill until 1989, then formed, at Murihiku Marae, the second Kura Kaupapa Maori in the South Island.

She was principal of Te Wharekura o Arowhenua for 28 years until 2017 which she oversaw growth in the roll from 35 pupils to 160 when she retired.

She has also chaired Te Runanga Nui o nga Kura Kaupapa Maori Te Aho Matua o Aotearoa, the national body representing Te Aho Matua Kura Kaupapa Maori.

Mrs Wainui is an Archdeacon in the Anglican Church, Te Hui Amorangi o Te Waipounamu.

 

MNZM
Dr Priscilla Muriel (Cilla) McQueen
Bluff, for services as a poet

POET Cilla McQueen has been left humbled by her Queen’s Birthday recognition and believes it is good not only for her, but the arts and her home town of Bluff.

She has been a distinguished poet since the early 1980s, has written 15 volumes of poetry, won the New Zealand Book Award for poetry three times, and was the New Zealand Poet Laureate between 2009 and 2011.

“It makes me very happy and makes me feel very honoured.

“It is very much a voluntary affair being a poet, it is hard work… and it is nice that someone noticed it.”

While being Poet Laureate was in itself a huge honour, the Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit award was something of a surprise, albeit a good one, she said.

Dr McQueen primarily writes about the Otago and Southland regions, with a particular focus on landscapes, people and history and she frequently volunteers to give readings of her poetry at schools and community centres around New Zealand.

She has been the Robert Burns Fellow at the University of Otago and was awarded an honorary doctorate by the university in 2008.

In 2010, Dr McQueen received the Prime Minister’s Award for literary achievement.

 

MNZM
Muriel Naomi Te Huikau Johnstone
Riverton, for services to Maori and conservation

Muriel Johnstone, of Riverton.

AN expert in Ngai Tahu place names, whakapapa, traditions and history, Muriel Johnstone initially felt shy about her Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit honour, but has been encouraged by it.

“It does though strengthen my resolve to keep sharing these teachings for as long as I’m able,” Mrs Johnstone said.

She has dedicated more than 40 years to her iwi, runanga and community, and is knowledgeable in iwi histories, shares whakapapa advice, and is a passionate advocate of the environment and of rongoa Maori, traditional Maori healing.

She has been one of the key southern informants on Maori place names throughout Murihiku and Fiordland for the Ngai Tahu cultural mapping project Ka Huru Manu.

She has represented Te Runanga o Oraka-Aparima and Ngai Tahu on many governance boards, and chairs the Taramea Management Committee.

A respected kaumatua (elder) and Ministry for the Environment-accredited RMA hearings commissioner, she served on the Guardians of Lakes Manapouri, Monowai and Te Anau for 15 years, on the Southland Conservation Board (2005-2009), and has been a member of the Department of Conservation’s Kaitiaki Roopu o Murihiku for almost 20 years.

 

QSM
Malcolm Alan Walker
Winton, for services to sport and education

Malcolm Walker.

WHEN Malcolm Walker heard he was being awarded a Queen’s Service Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, he thought someone was pulling his leg.

“To be quite honest, I thought it was a joke.

“I feel embarrassed about this because I’m in a fantastic area here and I’ve worked with so many wonderful people on committees who have helped me along in all my pursuits.”

The 65-year-old was a teacher in central Southland for more than 35 years, including 23 years as principal of Limehills School, and sat on a variety of education-based committees, including the Regional Principal Support Network and the Deep Cove Hostel Trust Education sub-committee as chairman.

Mr Walker was also a Central Primary Schools’ Sports Association member, a school cricket coach for more than 40 years, a Central Western Cricket Club volunteer, a Southland Primary Schools Athletics Committee member, and has coached and organised various club, school and representative athletics, rugby, touch and basketball teams.

For his coaching, he won the New Zealand Volunteer Coach of the Year and the Southland Volunteer Coach of the Year awards in 2001.

He helped drive fundraising for the Winton skate park, the establishment of the Limehills swimming pool, and was a foundation member of the Central Southland Squash Club.

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