Pasifika health expert knighted in Platinum Honours
One of New Zealand’s three newest knights in the Queen’s Birthday and Platinum Jubilee Honours, Sir Collin Tukuitonga, is renowned internationally for his passionate advocacy for Pacific and public health and, more recently, as a prominent voice on the pandemic.
What is perhaps less well known is that he and his family recently moved to the region from the city, to a block of rural land north east of Wellsford.
Sir Collin said they were all only just settling in, but there was a great local community on the road where they lived.
“We relocated my wife’s family home from Auckland to Tomarata, partly for space for our daughter and her horse,” he said.
Sir Collin is currently the inaugural Associate Dean of Pacific Health at the University of Auckland. Since 2020, he has played a significant role in the national response to Covid-19, particularly in advocating for and communicating information to Pasifika communities.
He was born in Niue and trained as a doctor in Fiji before moving to New Zealand in 1987, where he was key in setting up the Department of Māori and Pacific Health at the University of Auckland. From 2001 to 2003, he had his first brush with a major disease outbreak, leading the national response to the threat of SARS when he was NZ director of public health.
Sir Collin has also worked at the World Health Organisation in Geneva, been chief executive of the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs and founded the country’s first Pasifika community-owned health clinic, The Fono. From 2014 to 2020, he was director general of the Pacific Community, the largest intergovernmental organisation in the Pacific region.
Meanwhile, former Whangarei deputy mayor and Langs Beach resident Sharon Morgan has been made a Member of the Order of New Zealand for services to the community, arts and rugby.
As well as serving on Whangarei District Council from 2007 to 2019, including two terms as deputy mayor, she was the first female president of Northland Rugby Union and, as trustee of the Whangarei Art Museum Trust, was a key figure behind the development and governance of the recently opened Hundertwasser and Te Wairau Māori Art Centre.
Morgan has also been a trustee for numerous community groups, including Te Kowhai Print, Creative Northland, Anawhata Museum, Northland Community and Whangarei Sculpture Symposium.
She is an enthusiastic supporter of Kiwi North, the district museum, kiwi house and heritage park west of Whangarei.