The Queen honours Mike Bush and other friends on her birthday

Venkat Raman
Auckland, June 1, 2020

Former Police Commissioner Mike Bush

Former Police Commissioner Mike Bush (currently on an assignment with the government) has been appointed as a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) by the Queen.

The Queen’s Birthday Honours List, announced this morning, also features six members of the Indian community for their services in various fields.

On top of the List are three Dames and two Knights.

Dames: Distinguished Professor Jane Elizabeth Harding (Auckland) for services to Neonatology and Perinatology, Dr Karen Olive Poutasi (Paraparaumu) for services to Education and the State and Aroha Hohipera Reriti-Crofts (Christchurch) for services to Māori and the community.

Knights: Professor Robert Bartlett Elliott (Auckland) for services to Medical Research and Professor Derek Arana Te Ahi Lardelli (Gisborne) for services to Māori Art.

Mike Bush

Mike Bush (officially Michael Dennis Bush) is decorated officer of the New Zealand Police and the communities would welcome his appointment as a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, the third highest civilian honour in the country’s Honours System.

This Reporter has worked with him for more than 15 years and his concern for safer communities is translated as ‘feeling safe’ as well.

Challenges in Career

In his Police career spanning more than four decades, Mr Bush met several challenges, in each of which he showed leadership, quick action and resolution with community partnership. The murder of Navtej Singh on June 7, 2008 in Manurewa, Auckland, the abduction of abduction of Xin Xin Ma a year later and many other incidents during his tenure as the District Commander of Counties Manukau District Police were issues that needed solution-based calm approach.

The biggest manmade challenge of his career occurred on March 15, 2019 in Christchurch.

As the citation accompanying his appointment as CNZM said, “He led the Police response to the Mosque shootings, the most extensive operation in New Zealand Police’s history.”

During his six-year tenure as the Police Commissioner, Mr Bush spearheaded a new framework focused on high performance standards and worked to create a more respectful and inclusive culture, incorporating empathy and diversity into the core values of the Police.

He defined and led the launch of a Strategy in 2015 supporting how Police work with ethnic communities and improved female representation at all levels of Police.

Prevention First

He began working on the ‘Prevention First Operating Model’ as Deputy Commissioner Operations from 2011 and continued this transformation as Commissioner.

‘Prevention First’ contributed to 20% drop in crime between 2010 and 2014, while lifting New Zealander’s confidence in Police.

Mr Bush promoted strategies to address Māori overrepresentation in the justice system, including Police’s refreshed Māori strategy Te Huringa o Te Tai. He has led the Police response to major natural disasters including the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake, major fires in Canterbury and Nelson, and flooding in Edgecumbe.

He collaborated with other Chiefs of Police within the Pacific to share knowledge and taken the lead with Asian nations on joint trans-national crime investigations.

Dr Arish Chakarvarthi Naresh

Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM)

Dr Arish Naresh has been appointed as Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the community and Dentistry.

Since moving to New Zealand 13 years ago, Dr Naresh has worked hard to improve dental hygiene among members of various communities.

Manager of Dental Services for the Tairawhiti District Health Board and former Chief Allied Health Officer for the Capital and Coast District Health Board, he initiated the first publicly funded maternal oral health service ‘Hapu Mama Oranga Niho’ and launched the Te Herenga Ora: He Mahi Kokiri strategy at Capital & Coast District Health Board. He is Chairperson of the New Zealand Dental and Oral Health Therapists’ Association and a Founding Member and President of the International Oral Health Association, an international body representing approximately 100,000 mid-level oral health practitioners globally.

Dr Naresh founded, helped establish or supported the Tairawhiti Multicultural Council, Gisborne Colour Run for Diversity, Whanganui Festival of Cultures, Gizzy School Lunches, and a free lunch scheme for homeless and underprivileged Gisborne residents.

He has been a board member of UNICEF New Zealand, Co-Chairperson of Ship for World Youth New Zealand, National Vice President of Multicultural New Zealand, and is a National Ambassador for White Ribbon New Zealand.

Queen’s Service Medal

Afiff Shah

Afiff Shan, who will receive a Queen’s Service Medal for services to the Muslim Community and Football is a respected leader of both. He has been a friend of Indian Newslink since its inception and helped in organising our Soccer Tournaments and Carnivals.

According to the government Citation, Mr Shah organised a place of worship for Muslims at a vacant New Zealand Army barracks at Walters Road, Takanini in the 1990s.

Following notice that the barracks would be removed, he initiated the purchase of a property for a permanent place of worship with the support of other members of the Muslim community.

“This led to the establishment of the Al Irqa Islamic Trust in 2000 and the purchase of a property in Takanini. He has been a member of the South Auckland Muslim Association for the past 30 years, assisting Muslims on a voluntary basis, and was Council Chairman of the Association from 2009 to 2011. He was Chairman of the Papatoetoe United Football Club from 1998 to 2000, and Coach of the club from 1997 to 2000. He was also the founding President of New Zealand Fiji Soccer Inc., now known as New Zealand Fiji Football Association Inc., from 2006 to 2010. He was instrumental in establishing the Association. Mr Shah is a volunteer adviser for the Pakuranga Citizens Advice Bureau Immigration Clinic.”

Chandu Daji

Chandubhai Daji, who will receive a Queen’s Service Medal, a veteran of the Indian community and has been the President, Trustee and Executive Member of the Auckland Indian Association which is marking its centenary this year.

Mr Daji belongs to a generation of businesspersons who, apart from managing their enterprises profitably but also found time to promote the sporting talent among people, notably the young over the years. Experienced in running a fruits and vegetables shop for his family for many years, he established his own company with his wife Banu as a Partner, dealing in fruits and vegetables.

Mr Daji’s professional interests have included Auckland Retail Fruiterers Association, (President and Executive Officer), Auckland Indian Sports Club (Executive Committee Member for 33 years), Auckland Hockey Association, Auckland Cricket Association Board of control and New Zealand Indian Sports Association.

He managed the Hockey and Cricket  teams and was the Coordinator of the first Golden Oldies Hockey Tournament held in Auckland in 1998. He was also the Captain of the Social Hockey team for 25 years, and came to be affectionately called, ‘Skipper.’

As Vice-President, President and Executive Committee Member of the Auckland Indian Association, Mr Daji was instrumental in organising such important community welfare events as ‘Free Health Expo,’ installation of the statute of Mahatma Gandhi and publication of a book to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of the Mahatma Gandhi Centre.

He is a Charter Member of the Westhaven Rotary Club and has served as President and Secretary and chaired various committees. He is currently Chairman of the Club’s Charitable Trust.

“I am honoured and privileged,” he said about the QSM.

Maher Angez Singh

We have known Maher Singh for past 21 years as a woman involved in several community welfare activities, especially for the elderly and hence a Queen’s Service Medal for services to seniors and the community is well deserved.

She has volunteered in the aged care sector and the wider community for the past 20 years.

Mrs Singh has been an Executive Member of the New Zealand Indian Senior Citizens Association and the New Zealand Fijian Senior Citizens Association since 2000. She was the Chair of the former from 2007 to 2011 and is the current Chair of later, having originally been its founder in 2012.

She works with the New Zealand Police and social support providers to assist seniors who are victims of elder abuse. She frequently visits seniors at their homes, rest homes or in hospital, as well as organising outings and monthly meetings.

She voluntarily organises and implements a lunch delivery service for low-decile schools in Manukau and frequently fundraises for vulnerable families, victims of domestic violence and other people and groups in need.

She is involved in collecting donations for the Blind Foundation and has volunteered to provide catering for a cricket tournament for blind players.

Ms Singh has been a member of the Point Chevalier Lions Club, through which she has been involved with several community projects.

“I have been involved in community service since my younger days. This recognition is very encouraging and humbling,” she said.

Pravin Kumar

Pravin Kumar (who will receive Queen’s Service Medal for services to the Indian community) does not like to talk either about his business (Lotus Foreign Exchange which has branches in New Zealand, Fiji and Australia) not about his achievements but mention about ‘Shri Ram Mandir’ located in Henderson, he would become very vivacious and attentive.

Since its formation in 2011, Shri Ram Mandir Charitable Trust which owns and manages the Temple located at 11 Brick Street, Mr Kumar’s lifestyle has undergone a significant change.

The multimillion dollar Temple is a tribute to his enterprise, hard work and capability to mobilise finances and over the past ten years, it has been a rendezvous for thousands of people to pray, listen to discourses by visiting spiritual masters, religious and social festivals and other events.

The government Citation said, “All functions at the Mandir are fully catered and Mr Kumar has assembled a large team of volunteers who cook, serve, and clean up. He uses his lifestyle block in West Auckland to grow vegetables and provide milk for the Mandir. He has organised ‘Ram-A-Thon Charity Walk’ over the years, raising funds for a range of organisations. He played a key role in the creation of the Waitakere Indian Association, serving as its Vice President from 2004 to 2008. Mr Kumar was President of the Waitakere Hindi Language and Cultural School from 2008 to 2011 and has been a member of the Waitemata Police Ethnic Advisory Board since 2017.”

Suresh Chunilal Patel (Photo Courtesy: David Unwin for Stuff)

Suresh Patel runs his family business of fruits and vegetables in Dannevirke, a rural service town in the Manawatu-Whanganui region of North Island, established by his grandfather 98 years ago.

“I believe this is the oldest fruits and vegetables shop in the country. I am grateful to my wife Nayna and brother Peter who are involved in the business. Their support helps me to engage in community activities including sports (for which he will receive the Queen’s Gold Medal),” he said.

Mr Patel was the Chairman of the Dannevirke Chamber of Commerce on two separate occasions, helping to prevent it from going into recession and then driving the growth of the Association over the past 13 years. During his time as Chairman from 2013 to 2015 he revitalised the Dannevirke Christmas Parade, which has grown over the past five years under his leadership.

He was the Chairman of Dannevirke Cricket Association from 2002 to 2010 and President of the Central District Indian Sports for 14 years from 1996 to 2010. He has been a delegate and selector with the New Zealand Indian Sports Association for many years and has helped to organise various New Zealand Indian Sports tournaments.

Mr Patel has been a Coach, Referee and a Member of many sports clubs and teams across Cricket, Hockey, and Rugby. He was made an Honorary Member of the New Zealand Indian Sports Association in 2012, and Life Member of the Central District Indian Sports Club in 2016 and the Dannevirke Chamber of Commerce in 2017.

“I am overwhelmed by this honour (QSM). I think collectively for people,” he said.

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