CPAG’s Assoc Prof Mike O’Brien awarded honour


CPAG’s Assoc Prof Mike O’Brien named on Queen’s Birthday Honour list

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) warmly congratulates long-serving executive member Associate Professor Mike O’Brien who has been included among the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours list as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to social policy and education.

Having been a member of CPAG’s Management Committee since 1995, Mike has provided his services for the group voluntarily as chief spokesperson for social security and children’s welfare, and has previously held the position of Convenor. He has undertaken research and written extensively on child poverty and social security issues for the last 30 years and has contributed to many major CPAG publications on child poverty and social welfare change.

Prior to his current role with the University of Auckland as Associate Professor at the School of Counselling, Human Services and Social Work (since 2011, mainly in post-graduate programmes) Mike worked in the Child Welfare Division and Child Health Clinic as a social worker, and taught in the Social Work programme at Massey University from 1980-2011. He chaired the Alternative Welfare Working Group in 2011 and has been on the Board of a number of social service organisations.

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“It is a surprise and an honour to have been acknowledged in this manner,” said Mike of his Queen’s Birthday Honour list recognition.

“I am very pleased to see that across Aotearoa-New Zealand, there is an intensity of focus on reducing child poverty and improving child wellbeing. The work to date is a good start on what is the most important issue facing New Zealand families, but there still much to be done.

“A continued long-term commitment is critical if we are to ensure that all New Zealand children have the best opportunity to be the best they can be. We all share responsibility to make this happen.”

Alan Johnson, Co-Convenor for CPAG says that this award to Mike is well-deserved and a “fitting tribute to Mike’s lifelong work for the welfare of our most vulnerable people, and especially our most vulnerable children.”

“As a teacher Mike has inspired hundreds of his students to look deeply into the social problems we face as a country and to apply their skills and energy to addressing them. His clear critical analysis around social policy issues has informed public debate immensely. This honour is a just recognition for the contribution Mike has made over several decades to making New Zealand a fairer more tolerant place.”