Christine rewarded for services to sport and Maori

Christine Panapa, a 70 year old from Onewhero, is now a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for services to sport and Maori.

Many years of hard work have led to this and although Christine wasn’t expecting it, she said it’s rewarding to her and her whanau.

For 22 years Christine was chairperson for New Zealand Kiwi Ferns Team in the New Zealand Women’s Rugby League. Her role was to find money to keep the organisation going and fund national and international tournaments. Christine, her husband John and whanau have also been involved for ten years in ‘Ahikiwi,’ a family sports team that plays a variety of sports. “Today the team lives on through grandchildren in Te Mahurehure Marae. I’m fundraising and supporting my grandchildren on the sideline.”

The Maori part of the award comes from Christine’s dedication to Te Mahurehure Marae. “In 1969 my late parents Alan and Kiri King, along with wider whanau, purchased a five acre block with an old rugby training shed in Point Chevalier, which became our marae. In 2000 my husband and I put our hands up to rebuild it.” Christine, who was chairperson for 18 years, found the money for the rebuild. “This dream was realised with its opening in April 2009.

Today my daughter Tracey, the operations manager, leads from the front to keep it running. Without the support of my husband, immediate and wider whanau, we could not have achieved what we have.” Christine has also been chairperson for St Stephen’s School and Queen Victoria Maori Girls School and president of Maori Women’s Welfare League Branch.

“I’ve been fortunate to have had loving parents who taught me wonderful values and set high standards. My father taught me to set goals and work hard to achieve them. He used to say ‘don’t say no just because you can.’ Her next venture is to build houses at her marae to house whanau, especially those in need, and her dream is to see her great grandchildren reach their 21st. Christine, who works for Minister Peeni Henare, Labour MP for Tamaki Makaurau, likes to watch ‘Judge Judy’ in her spare time, as it helps her in everyday work decisions.


EDITOR’S NOTE: In our print edition (12 June 2018), we published Christine’s name incorrectly. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.


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