PACIFIC ISLANDERS HONORED IN AUCKLAND

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Dec. 31) – Four members of New Zealand’s Pacific community are honoured in the New Year Honours List announced today.

The Auckland Justice of the Peace, Epafala Auimatagi has been awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for providing support for education, cutural awareness and health services to Pacific Island people.

He worked with the Justice Department helping prevent young people re-offending and advising the Probation Service.

Douglas Fua Alo, a member of the New Zealand Customs service also received the Queen’s Service Medal. Mr Alo, who is based in Thailand, played an important part in the New Zealand Embassy’s initial response to the tsunami crisis in Phuket.

His citation notes in particular his work with local officials dealing with the remains of those who died in the disaster.

Another Aucklander, Dean Marsters, received his QSM for services to Cook Islanders in New Zealand.

He served for 22 years as secretary of the Pacific Islanders’ Congregational Church and is chairperson of the Atiu people of Magare.

He contributes to the Cook Islands community through providing financial support for those travelling to New Zealand and fund raising to help with natural disasters in the Cooks.

There was also a QSM for Susau Strickland, an elder of the Kingsland Methodist Rotuman Congregation.

She has dedicated the last 54 years nursing in Fiji, the Cook Islands and in New Zealand.

She has worked for the last 18 years for the Little Sisters of the Poor at Herne Bay in Auckland.

January 2, 2006

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

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