King's Birthday Honours: Ngāti Porou leader receives knighthood

6:31 am on 5 June 2023
Te Runanganui o Ngāti Porou chair Selwyn Parata

Te Runanganui o Ngāti Porou chair Selwyn Parata. Photo: RNZ / Tom Kitchin

Sir Selwyn Parata is humbled and elated by his knighthood in recognition of his services to Māori.

He said it was recognition of his elders who shared the values of selflessness, duty and care with him.

"I'm thinking about all those people who have had a part in my upbringing and in nurturing me over the last 40 years in my work with Ngāti Porou across the motu on kaupapa Māori."

Sire Selwyn was the chair of Te Rūnanganui o Ngāti Porou and part of the team that successfully negotiated the Tai Rāwhiti iwi treaty claims.

Parata said he was now hoping to support the new generation of Ngāti Porou leaders just as the previous generation nurtured him.

"I've got every faith that the future generations of Ngāti Porou and other iwi will be capable of taking our iwi into the next 20, 30, 40 years," he said.

Parata has served as the chair of the kapa haka festival Te Matatini since 2008. Under his leadership Te Matatini has grown in prominence to become one of Aotearoa's premier cultural events.

In the latest Budget, Te Matatini secured a huge boost in funding which will support the future growth of kapa haka.

Parata was also co-chair of Tairāwhiti Rau Tipu Rau Ora leadership group, established to lead Covid-19, future pandemic and natural disaster responses and recovery.

He said strengthening whānau capability and holding the treaty partner to account have been the highlights of working for his iwi.

Kevin Prime. Photo:

But the big challenge ahead was central and local government working in good collaboration with iwi to help them realise their aspirations, he said.

"I think iwi have shown that as a result of the Covid pandemic that we are agile, we are innovative and we are able to receive resources and put them in the right place to assist our iwi," he said.

Sir Selwyn Parata thanked the people who thought he would be worthy of a knighthood alongside his elders who taught him the values of good stewardship and to care for language, land, tikanga and everything that makes Ngāti Porou.

Kevin Prime (Ngāti Hine, Ngapuhi, Ngāti Whatua, Tainui) has been made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori, the environment and health.

He has been a distinguished official for various Crown entities for 40 years, including as a member of the Waitangi Tribunal and a Commissioner of the Environment Court.

Prime was the founding Secretary of Ngāti Hine Health Trust, which supports the health needs of his hapū.

Qiane Matata-Sipu, Vic Pirihi and Dr Huhana Smith, among others, have been named Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit in part for their services to Māori as well as their contributions in other fields such as the environment, golf and the arts.

Matata-Sipu (Te Waiohua, Waikato, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Pikiao, Rarotonga, Mangaia) was an artist, journalist, photographer and social activist who has contributed significantly to Māori and Pasifika self-determination for 20 years.

She was the founder of NUKU, established 2018, a social impact enterprise using multimedia to celebrate the sovereignty of Indigenous women.

Pirihi (Ngāpuhi-Ngātiwai, Patuharakeke) co-launched the Māori Junior Golf Development Programme in 1986 to grow the game at grassroots level.

He took players to tournaments to introduce them to the game, many of whom did not have the means to get there themselves, his early squads notably include Phil Tataurangi and Michael Campbell.

Huhana Smith

Dr Huhana Smith. Photo: supplied

Smith (Ngāti Tukorehe, Te Mateawa, Ngāti Rangitāwhia, Ngāti Kapumanawawhiti ki Kuku) has been addressing climate change concerns for costal land along Horowhenua and Kapiti, through Massey University's School of Art.

She leads the largest Māori-led research project into climate change, with local iwi and hapu.

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