King’s Birthday Honours for East Coast champion

Me aro koe ki te hā o Hine-ahu-one

The devotion shown by Katareina Kaiwai to improving the lives of people across her community is an inspiration to all New Zealanders, Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka says.

Katareina Kaiwai (Ngāti Porou, Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Heretaunga) has been awarded a King’s Service Medal for services to women and the civil construction industry as part of the King’s Birthday 2024 Honours List.

She was one of 176 recipients, which included the appointments of two Dames and two Knights.

“Katareina founded Tairāwhiti Contractors on the East Coast in 2021 and, as one of the few wāhine business owners in civil construction in the region, has been a champion enabling better working conditions for women in construction.

“She received support through Te Puni Kōkiri’s Progressive Procurement programme to secure a significant roading maintenance contract and has gone on to support a number of people into employment.

“Following the destruction from Cyclone Gabrielle in 2023, her company provided an essential role in reconnecting isolated communities including with roading repair. 

“She worked with an LPG supplier to provide gas bottles to cut-off communities and fuel to Te Puia Springs hospital, emergency services and contractors. 

“Katareina also leads an initiative that provides 490 healthy lunches daily to East Coast school children.

“Katareina’s innovation is a testament to the strength of wāhine Māori taking leadership roles in driving the growth key to rebuilding our economy.”