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Source: New Zealand Government

Minister of Health and Pacific Peoples Dr Shane Reti today recognises the significant work of those included in the King’s Birthday 2024 Honours List, particularly those being honoured for services to health and medical sciences and services to Pacific communities. 

“This year’s King’s Birthday Honours List represents a massive breadth of experience and achievements and decades of committed service to New Zealand – for that, I honour them,” says Dr Reti. 

Those being recognised for their services to health and medical sciences include Professor Peter Hunter, appointed a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit and Dr John Peek who becomes a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit. 

“A world-leading pioneer in bioengineering research and innovation, Professor Hunter established and has led the Physiome Project, an international collaborative project to measure and mathematically model all aspects of physiology in the human body. 

“Professor Hunter established the Auckland Bioengineering Institute in 2001 and has been director since its founding, overseeing its growth into a key clinical and medical technology partner in New Zealand. He has also served on numerous international scientific organisations in high executive offices over decades.

“Also recognised today for services to fertility treatment and reproductive health, Dr John Peek has been at the forefront of assisted reproductive technology and fertility treatment in New Zealand for 40 years.

“Dr Peek was New Zealand’s first embryologist and has helped train and influence other embryologists across the country. He was instrumental in establishing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) services in New Zealand at the National Women’s Hospital in Auckland, and his innovations in IVF treatment have been recognised worldwide and accepted as the international standard.”

For their dedication to Pacific communities, Frances Oakes and Leitualaalemalietoa Lynn Pavihi are appointed as Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit.  

“Frances Oakes has played a critical role in providing mental health services in the Waitaki District for more than 30 years, as well as supporting Pacific language and culture programmes for the Oamaru community.

“She helped establish the Waitaki Community Mental Health Service, a key organisation providing essential mental health support to the region. She also founded the Oamaru Pacific Island Community group in 1998, a community-led Pacific provider which has become a cornerstone for fostering unity and support for Pacific communities. 

“For her services to mental health and the Pacific community, I say mālō ‘aupito,” says Dr Reti. 

“Leitualaalemalietoa Pavihi has made significant contributions to Pacific education over 19 years. Most notably, she spearheaded the world’s first Niue language bilingual unit at Favona Primary School in Mangere and continues to drive the revitalisation of the language for the Niue community. 

“Pavihi’s efforts to strengthening the Niuean language are extensive, including hosting a weekly Niue radio programme on the Pacific Media Network, authoring children’s books in the Niuean language, and championing the Niue Auckland Rugby Union for six years. 

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, she was also instrumental in organising community activities to ensure the Niue community was properly informed about COVID-19. For Pavihi’s strong championing of Pacific language and education, fakaaue lahi.”