National | Awards

Passionate reo speakers honoured

An actor and a tohunga, both passionate about te reo Māori, have been honoured at Government House in Auckland.

Pouroto Ngaropo MNZM

A leader of his people, Pouroto Ngaropo (Ngāti Awa) who has dedicated 30 years of his life to ensure Māori customs and traditions are honoured across the entire Bay of Plenty regional government.

Ngaropo was the only Māori recipient to receive a Queen's Service Medal that day, for his services to Māori and governance.

Pouroto Ngaropo with his whānau and the Governor-General after the investiture ceremony (Source: Government House). 

"Most of my work revolves around the return of our lands that were taken by the government, because without land who am I, who are we?

"Mainstream laws have their value but we must not compromise our own values during the process."

Te Atamira Ward-Lealand CNZM

From one domain to another, Jennifer a.k.a. Atamira Ward-Lealand is a Māori language advocate.

Atamira Ward-Lealand with the Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy at Auckland's Government House (Source: Government House).

Ward-Lealand is highly regarded for her acting.  She received the Insignia of a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to theatre, film and television.

"I marvel at the quality of work produced by writers for theatre, I hope to see an increase among Māori writers," she says.

From the Pākehā to the Māori worlds these two recipients share a desire for the advancement of Māori, now and into the future.