National | Kiwi Ferns

Christine Panapa recognised for contribution

Christine Panapa has been made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for services to sport and Māori. Panapa has been instrumental with the upgrade of Te Mahurehure Marae, a well-known marae in Auckland.

“I'm only one wahine, there's lots of beautiful wāhine out there that are doing some wonderful and marvelous things, and I wish that every one of them could be honoured today,” says Panapa.

Christine played a huge role in the rebuild of Te Māhurehure Marae, helping to raise up to $1.8m for the purpose-built facility.

"For me personally it was realising a dream of my mum and dad, my grandmother, her sisters, aunts, uncles, it was their whakaaro right back in the early days. But it was just realising a dream that they had from the beginning."

Panapa also helped establish New Zealand's Women's Rugby League and supported the Kiwi Ferns with national and international tournaments.

“It was very very difficult at first because it was trying to convince the men, that played the of rugby league, trying to convince them that women were just as good too.”

Panapa has also been involved with the Māori Women's Welfare League and was a past president.

“It's all about beautiful women, and the mahi that they do for whānau, not just in Tāmaki Makaurau but right throughout the motu. And our women all need to realise that this kaupapa needs to stay beautiful and we want to See it still be here when our mokopuna tuarua come up and their turn to take over.”

Panapa says she accepts the award on behalf of her parents and elders in honour of how hard they toiled in their day.