Pacific women’s contributions highlighted in Queen’s Birthday Honours

Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio congratulates the Pacific recipients who have been recognised in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.

“The recipients have made a significant contribution, whether at a community or national level, and have worked tirelessly within the Pacific community to make a lasting difference,” Aupito William Sio said.

“This year is particularly special because of the high number of women receiving honours for their services to New Zealand and this includes an amazing group of Pacific women.

“Among those recognised is the Honourable Luamanuvao Winnie Laban who has been appointed a Dame Companion of The New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to education and the Pacific community.

“Luamanuvao Dame Winne Laban has always been a trailblazer - being New Zealand's first Pacific Island woman MP and first woman Minister of Pacific Island Affairs. As Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Pasifika) of Victoria University of Wellington she continues to advance Pacific achievement along with a number of Pacific organisations she advocates for.

“Her battle with breast cancer also saw her bring our Pacific community together to discuss health issues in an open, frank and safe environment.

“Fiao’o Faamausili, captain of the Black Ferns since 2012, has received an ONZM for her significant contribution to rugby. Fiao’o is the most capped Black Fern at 52 caps.

“Nina Catherine Nawalowalo has also received an ONZM for her tremendous work in Pacific culture in creating Pasifika-themed theatre productions for more than 20 years.

“Reverend Setaita Tokilupe Veikune has received an MNZM for her valuable leadership contribution to the Pacific church community. She became the first Pacific woman to be appointed President Elect of the Methodist Church of New Zealand in 2017.

“Caren Rangi receives an ONZM for her services to the Cook Islands community and encouraging Pacific women in leadership roles, while Jackie Clark, of Samoan heritage, receives an MNZM for her extensive contribution to the entertainment industry and championing worthy causes for women’s health.

“Congratulations to all the Pacific recipients who have been honoured for their contribution to sports, politics, education, business, religion and the arts and who continue to be role models and inspire the next generation,” Aupito William Sio said.  

The recipients are:


  • The Honourable Luamanuvao Winnie Laban, QSO, for services to education and the Pacific community


  • Ms Fiao’o Faamausili, for services to rugby
  • Ms Nina Catherine Nawalowalo, for services to theatre and Pacific culture
  • Ms Caren Jane Rangi, for services to the Pacific community and governance


  • Ms Jacqueline Emma Clarke, for services to the entertainment industry
  • Mr Darryl Bill Suasua, for services to rugby
  • Mr Saimoni Lealea, for services to Pacific communities
  • Reverend Setaita Tokilupe Veikune, for services to the Pacific community


  • Mr Tafafuna'i Fa'atasi Lauese, JP, for services to the Pacific community
  • Reverend Perema Leasi, for services to the Pacific community
  • Reverend Lucky Richard Slade, JP, for services to the Samoan community