Panapa honoured with MNZM

By Jessica Tyson

Former Māori Women's Welfare League president Christine Panapa will be made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit today.

She be will honoured for her services to sport and Māori at an investitures ceremony in Auckland.

Panapa, of Ngāti Pūkenga, Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Ngāti Maniapoto, played a huge role in the rebuild of Te Māhurehure Marae, helping to raise up to $1.8mil for the purpose-built facility.

"For me personally, it was realising a dream of my mum and dad, my grandmother, her sisters, aunts, uncle.  It was their whakaaro right back in the early days but it was just realising a dream that they had from the beginning," she recently told Te Kāea reporter Te Kuru Dewes.

Panapa also helped establish New Zealand's Women's Rugby League and supported the Kiwi Ferns with national and international tournaments.

“It was very, very difficult at first because it was trying to convince the men, that played rugby league, trying to convince them that women were just as good too.”

Christine Panapa receives MNZM.

As the former president, Panapa has been involved in supporting wāhine with the Māori Women's Welfare League.

“It's all about beautiful women and the mahi that they do for whānau, not just in Tāmaki Makaurau but right throughout the motu.

“Our women all need to realise that this kaupapa needs to stay beautiful and we want to see it still be here when our mokopuna tuarua come up and it’s their turn to take over.”

Panapa says she accepted the award on behalf of her parents and elders, in honour of how hard they toiled in their day.