It’s another Queen’s Birthday Honours list and although I have never been a supporter of this nonsense and hope that one day we throw out this outdated way of honouring Kiwis, I have to admit there are certainly a couple of people who deserve their honours.
One person who many Maori will be happy about getting a knighthood is Timoti Karetu, he has been a massive contributor in terms of the Maori language. Timoti has probably been the foremost leader in the Maori world in terms of reo Maori development, he has trained hundreds of students over the years and has even set up his own elite school of students.
So congratulations to him, it’s just a shame that he supports the British monarchy and this ridiculous knights and dames system. I look forward to the day when Maori leaders like Timoti turn down these types of honours and find a more Maori or uniquely Kiwi way to be honoured.
Maori leaders like Ranginui Walker, Apirana Mahuika and Witi Ihimaera have said no in the past so there is hope that more might follow their lead. I also think too many rich people unnecessarily get honoured. We need a People’s Honours list that recognises and celebrates those who have given for the people rather than taken from them.
Here is who I would nominate:
Dr Lance O’Sullivan for services to health:
Lance has been a tireless champion for under funded health services and is prepared to stand up and use his voice to stamp out nonsense like the anti-vaccination movement. He has made a real difference in the lives of thousands and deserves recognition for his passion, drive and courage.
Mike King for services to suicide awareness:
Mike has done more for suicide awareness than the entire Mental Health service has managed. His criticism towards their failures is matched only by his genuine love and understanding he offers those on the edge of self-harm. Considering that our real suicide rate could be three times higher than officials admit, rewarding him would force more attention on this most hurtful social wound.
Helen Kelly for services to workers:
That Helen has still not been acknowledged by any of our national awards is a travesty. Her strength and fight for worker rights deserves to be recognised of the sake of history.
Sonny Bill Williams for services to sport and ethics:
His decision to make ethical stands in sport should be applauded.
Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson for services to journalism:
Forcing a nation to confront their own war crimes is a lonely and punishing job, recognition would show our gratitude for their bravery.
Julia Whaipooti for services to prison reform:
Part of a next generation of leaders in New Zealand, her work with Just Speak to force prison reform demands consideration.
Russel Norman for services to the environment:
He was arrested this year for jumping in front of an oil survey ship! Some leave Parliament and become irrelevant, Russel leaves Parliament and makes himself even more important to the debate.
First published in the Manukau Courier