Tukua Turia, who is an expert in Cook Island traditional quilt-making art Tivaivai, and volunteer worker Vaine Arai Areora have been made Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Derek Teariki, who is also a community worker, received a Queen’s Service Medal.
Turia, 74, was bestowed with the honour for services to Cook Islands art and culture.
She has designed hundreds of tivaivai over the years and her work has been collected by Te Papa Tongarewa, where she has also provided pieces for ANZAC ceremonies.
“She is routinely commissioned by the Cook Islands Consulate to create gifts for dignitaries and has gifted some of her works to New Zealand government officials,” said the New Zealand Cabinet Office in a statement.
“She is a member of the Kuki ‘Airani Creative Mamas, a group of Cook Island women based in Mangere who gather for weekly activities, including tivaivai workshops. Her expertise is increasingly rare, and while she runs workshops, she is one of only a few in the group who can set up a tivaivai.”
Turia led Kuki ‘Airani Creative Mamas in a collaboration with fashion designer Karen Walker on a dress combining Cook Island tivaivai and modern dress, which was displayed at the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange exhibition at Buckingham Palace and public exhibitions in London this year.
She is a member of the more recently established Polynesian Creative Mamas group and has tutored students in tivaivai at the University of Auckland, Massey University, and the Mangere Cook Islands Elderly Group.
Areora was made Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the Cook Islands community and sport.
She has been involved with volunteer work for the Cook Islands community in Auckland since the 1950s.
“Mrs Areora was involved with the Cook Island Sports Association from the 1950s and in the 1960s she served on the Executive Committee of the PICC Netball Club and the Cook Islands Sports Club,” the statement said.
“In the 1970s she was a coach and player with the Manukau Netball Club and she and her late husband organised a rugby and netball tour to Rarotonga in 1974.
“From the 1980s until 2015 she was heavily involved in the Mangere Otahuhu Netball Centre, holding various roles including Treasurer, Vice President and President. She was a secretary of the Auckland Cook Islands Sports Association from 1970 until 2017 when she took over as president.
Areora has been president of Pacific Challenge Netball since 2006, having previously been treasurer in the 1990s. She was secretary of Takitimu Cultural and Arts Society from 2003 to 2010.
“She is involved with Mangere Cook Island Elder Day Care and is Heritage Culture Assistant Leader for Art and Crafts with the Cook Island Development Agency New Zealand.”
In 2015, Areora was a member of the committee that organised the 50th Year Cook Island Celebration Dinner to acknowledge Cook Islands development in Aotearoa.
Teariki received the Queen’s Service Medal for services to the Cook Islands community. He has been president of the Cook Islands Community Hall Society in Flaxmere since 2010, having previously been secretary from 2007.
As president, he steered the society to gain charitable status and has overseen fundraising efforts to maintain and upgrade the Hall facilities.
The Hall has been widely used for cultural festivals and workshops to promote Cook Islands culture, as well as being made accessible to other groups in the community for various events.
“He has been Secretary since 2014 of PaMeuta Cook Islands Group, a social group for seniors, and was a driving force behind its establishment. He leads PaMeuta’s weekly exercise programme, after which the group discusses topics such as health issues, safety in the home, and diet,” the statement said.