Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Pasifika recipients in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours

The 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours is a showcase of Pacific people’s leadership capability in Aotearoa.

Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon Aupito William Sio says the work and the individuals acknowledged this year highlights the kind of visionary examples and dedicated community leadership needed to help lead our COVID-19 responses, recovery, and the rebuilding of the Pacific economy.

“The Pacific recipients have all demonstrated excellence in areas which have made an impact in Pacific communities, including the arts, youth, education, the volunteer sector and most importantly in health,” Minister Sio says.

“Throughout COVID-19, key health messages were translated in nine Pacific languages with the help of community leaders and Pacific clinicians.

“It is fitting we have four recipients receiving honours for their efforts in the health sector supporting Pacific communities.”

Doctor George Ngaei is a strong advocate for Pacific peoples in Invercargill and receives the CNZM for his services to health and the Pacific community.

“His leadership would have been an important part of the Pacific District Health Board Managers and Regional Stakeholders Group that helped with the COVID-19 health response,” Minister Sio says.

Professor Alec Ekeroma receives the ONZM for his services to health and the Pacific community, which spans for more than 20 years.

He has been active in the development of medical services in primary health care for Pacific women and clinical education in New Zealand and the Pacific region.

Minister Sio add with the Government’s focus on training and education as a means to accelerate our COVID-19 recovery and rebuild plans, it is a huge boost of confidence to the Pacific community to know we have a pool of qualified people who are leading in the educational innovation space, like the three Pacific recipients who this year receive honours for their services to education.

Principal of Sylvia Park School Barbara Ala’alatoa receives the ONZM for her services to education.

Most recently she chaired the Education Council from 2015 until 2019 where she worked on designing and promoting the Code of Professional Responsibility.

Doctor Roberta Hunter receives the MNZM for her services to mathematics education, with more than 50 years working to raise mathematics achievement and developing Pacific cultural teaching responses that has significantly improved outcomes for learners in schools throughout New Zealand.

“Another significant highlight for Pacific peoples in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday honours is that Pacific women feature strongly, as they have always done in the history of the Pacific region,” Minister Sio says.

“This is just a snapshot of the significant contributions made by all the Pacific recipients and highlights the important role they have supporting our Pacific communities through COVID-19,” he says.

The recipients are: 


  • Mr George Ngaei, ONZM, for services to health and the Pacific community


  • Ms Barbara Frances Ala’alatoa, MNZM, for services to education
  • Professor Alec Joseph Ekeroma, for services to health and the Pacific community


  • Ms Donna Tusiata Avia, for services to poetry and the arts
  • Mr Iosefa Punefu Enari, for services to Pacific dance
  • Dr Roberta Kathleen Hunter, for services to mathematics education
  • Tofilau Bernadette Barbara Pereira, for services to the Pacific community and women
  • Mrs Aseta Redican, for services to health and Pacific peoples
  • Mr Christopher Te’o, for services to health, cycling and the Pacific community

Honorary MNZM

  • Ms Lita Foliaki, for services to the Pacific community


  • Mrs Emelita Rosita Selena Simeaanamulu Luisi, for services to youth
  • Mrs Molima Molly Pihigia, for services to Niuean art and the community
  • Afamasaga Agnes Rasmussen, for services to education and the Pacific community


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