Staff Reporter –
Five members of the South Asian community were featured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List announced by the government on June 6, 2016.
They included Dr Pushpa Wood, who has been appointed as Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to financial literacy and interfaith relations; Viduranga Aruna Abeygoonesekera, who has been appointed as Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the Sri Lankan community. Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) winners Karnail Singh Badhan, Nanette Nathoo (both for services to the Indian community respectively based in Wellington and Auckland) and Dr Nadaraja Manoharan for services to the health sector.
Congratulating the recipients, Ethnic Communities Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-liga described the recipients as ‘remarkable people,’ saying that they will inspire a new generation of young people to serve their ethnic communities.
“The efforts of these outstanding people ensure people of diverse cultures keep their heritage alive while also contributing to New Zealand society,” he said.
Dr Pushpa Wood is Director, Westpac Massey Financial Education and Research Centre and Chair of the New Zealand Chapter of the World Council of Religion and Peace. She recently facilitated the Online Ethics Centre (OEC) Community Leadership Programme.
She is a regular contributor of columns and articles to Indian Newslink.
Ms Wood said, “It is an honour and a privilege to receive this Award. Although my name is on the list, the honour truly belongs to the whole community and people who have supported me throughout my life. I am grateful to my parents who gave me opportunities to dream big, my husband Jack and my daughter Gayatri for their encouragement and support. I regard myself very lucky to be awarded for doing something that is very dear to my heart. This Award recognises the positive contribution that ethnic people are making in almost every field.
Viduranga Aruna Abeygoonesekera
Viduranga Aruna Abeygoonesekera works for the Social Development Ministry and has held financial and strategic roles in that sector for almost 20 years.
Mr Abeygoonesekera has supported the affairs of Sri Lankan and the wider community as a committee member and as President of the New Zealand Sri Lanka Friendship Society in Wellington.
He is a leader for Sri Lankans living in Wellington and has worked to support and celebrate ethnic and cultural diversity and the arts. Since his appointment as Honorary Consul for Sri Lanka in 2007, he has established good working relationships with government, and assisted in the promotion of trade and economic relations.
Karnail Singh Badhan
Karnail Badhan has contributed to the Indian community in Auckland since the early 1990s. He is a Founder and Life Member of the Ambedkar Sports & Cultural Club and has been its President since 2014.
He is also the current coach of the Club’s volley ball team and has been involved with fundraising for and organising the Club’s annual sports tournament in Pukekohe.
He is currently National Coordinator for Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) New Zealand and a member of GOPIO International.
Mr Badhan was instrumental in the development of the Guru Ravidas Sabha Temple and has held offices as Chairman, Vice President and Secretary.
Dr Nadarajah Manoharan
Dr Nadarajah Manoharan has practiced as an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) surgeon in New Zealand since 1974, primarily in small centres beginning in Whanganui and permanently in Palmerston North from 1982.
Dr Manoharan continued to service smaller centres through a weekly Whanganui clinic and a weekend Masterton clinic in addition to other centres. He has advocated for greater access to affordable healthcare for children and has never allowed finance to be a barrier to patients in need of his services. He is voluntary teacher for trainee registrars and a member of the Mid Central Health District Health Board since 2013.
He is a member of the Board’s Public Health Advisory, Funding and Audit, and Disability Support Advisory committees. He established the Whanganui ENT Department and significantly developed the Palmerston North ENT Department.
North Hospital from 2008 to 2010.
Nanette Nathoo has been the Chairperson of the Law and Order Crime Prevention Committee of the Auckland Branch of the New Zealand Indian Central Association (NZICA) since 2011, and served on its Executive Committee from 2008 to 2012.
She was a Trustee of the Mahatma Gandhi Centre a few years ago.
Ms Nathoo has contributed to the Indian community since 1982 and was Vice President of the Auckland Indian Association (AIA) from 2007 to 2015. She is currently Law and Order Crime Prevention Chairperson of the Association.
She has worked with the Auckland City Police Asian Liaison Officer in developing Safer Community and Crime Prevention videos, workshops and safety messages in community newsletters.
Editor’s Note: Pictures of Viduranga Aruna Abeygoonesekera from bobmckerrow.blogspot.com; Karnail Singh Badhan from Stuff; Dr Nadaraja Manoharan from LinkedIn and Nanette Nathoo from Facebook