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New Year Honours List 2023 - Citations for Knights Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit

To be a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit:

BLOOMFIELD, Dr Ashley Robin

For services to public health

Dr Ashley Bloomfield was the Director-General of Health from 2018 until 2022 and led the health sector and the successful management of the government’s public health response in New Zealand to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under intense scrutiny and daily public reporting, Dr Bloomfield has worked at a relentless pace for two years to drive and implement major policy decisions that have underpinned New Zealand’s response to the pandemic. Early on, he began providing regular press conference updates to inform the public about the virus, becoming the public face, alongside the Prime Minister, of the Government’s response to COVID-19. His clear and calm communication has been key to ensuring trust in the Government’s public health advice, with the public positioning him as New Zealand’s most well-known and highly respected public servant during the pandemic. He led the Ministry of Health (MoH) in establishing a national contact tracing centre, increasing resourcing for Healthline as a single source of information for the public and sourcing personal protective equipment. Dr Bloomfield led the MoH in standing up the first managed isolation and quarantine facilities, sourcing and operationalising testing services, and rolling out the country’s most ambitious vaccination programme, through which more than 90 percent of eligible New Zealanders were fully vaccinated.

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To be a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit:

DUNAJTSCHIK, Mr Markus (Mark)

For services to philanthropy

Mr Mark Dunajtschik has contributed to a range of philanthropic causes and charities for more than 40 years.

Mr Dunajtschik helped found a helicopter rescue service in Wellington in the mid-1970s, the precursor to the Westpac Helicopter rescue service, and financed the service for 10 years. In 2017 he donated $53 million to build and gift a new children’s hospital to Capital and Coast District Health Board. He has pledged between $50 to 60 million to replace Te Whare Ahura Mental Health Centre in the Hutt Valley. In 2019, he donated $2 million to Hōhepa Homes for intellectually disabled children to purchase land to expand their operation in Kāpiti and has contributed significantly to the purchase of further houses for a Trust in Belmont. He is a founding member of the Michael Fowler Centre and donor to the Wellington Free Ambulance. He funded the establishment of the Mark Dunajtschik Chair of Sustainable Energy at Victoria University of Wellington, a commitment of $2 million. Mr Dunajtschik has supported CCS Disability Action for many years and has made significant donations to Sport New Zealand and the Graeme Dingle Foundation, and is Patron of the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association.

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To be a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit:

WILLIAMS, Dr Haare Mahanga Te Wehinga, MNZM, JP

For services to Māori, literature and education

Dr Haare Williams was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2018 for his services to Māori, the arts and education.

Dr Williams has been Dean of Māori Education and Māori Advisor to the Chief Executive at Unitec. He has utilised storytelling and Māori traditions of oral literature to explore narratives of journeys, failures, triumphs, losses and gains embodied in whakapapa. Inspired by his love of language, he published his first book titled ‘Words of a Kaumātua’ in 2019, touching on his childhood and issues stemming from inequality in New Zealand. The book won the te reo Māori category of the 2020 Society of Authors’ Heritage Book Awards. He was a pioneer in Māori broadcasting as the General Manager of Aotearoa Radio and established a joint venture with the South Seas Film and Television School to train te reo speakers as producers and operators in film and television. He co-founded the New Zealand Māori Artists and Writers Association, later Ngā Puna Waihanga, and was the inaugural President for nine years. He is Kaumatua of the Kotahi Rau Pukapuka initiative launched in 2019, which aims to produce 100 great books in te reo Māori. Dr Williams has been Amorangi at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, has worked closely with iwi claimant communities and was a cultural advisor for mayors of Auckland.


Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, New Year 2018

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Last updated: 
Saturday, 31 December 2022

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