Gongs for Tawa, Porirua residents
Five people in the Porirua basin have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday honours, for services to music, the state and community, and the Sri Lankan and Tokelauan communities.
Craig Utting and Elizabeth Sneyd, from Tawa, received Queen’s Service Medals for their work as music teachers. They jointly run the Music Learning Centre from their home, providing lessons virtually free for children from families unable to afford music lessons.
In 2013 Sneyd co-founded a charitable trust to provide free music tuition to students from low- decile Porirua schools.
The pair have donated more than 100 instruments to the trust and give their time to run the free music programme with help from other volunteers.
Since last year, their Virtuoso Strings Orchestra has been based in Cannons Creek.
It has more than 100 music students and now performs regularly.
Teaku Petaia, from Cannons Creek, received a Queen’s Service Medal for services to the Tokelauan community.
He is a founding member of the Atafu Tokelau Community Group, formed in the 1970s with an initial focus on supporting Tokelauan migrants to New Zealand.
Petaia has been vicepresident and president of the group and is an active member of the Tokelau Elders Group and a founding member of the Tokelau Wellington Leadership Group, which advises the government.
The group contributed to the development of Tokelau Language Week in 2012, now an annual event.
In Porirua, Petaia has been involved with the Pacific Islands Presbyterian Church for more than 40 years.
Dr Daniel Muthumala, from Tawa, has been awarded a Queen’s Service Medal for services to the Sri Lankan community.
He has been involved with the Sri Lankan community since the early 1980s and helped establish the United Sri Lanka Association in 1983, serving as secretary from 1992 until 1995.
He pioneered the establishment of the Sri Lanka Association of New Zealand in 2004, to promote the Sri Lankan culture, particularly among young people.
Muthumala has worked with marae in the region to stage cultural presentations, was convener and a committee member of the Wellington Theravada Buddhist Association from 1981 until 1989, and helped raised funds during the Sri Lankan tsunami appeal.
Paul Swallow, from Plimmerton, was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
The award was for his work with Business New Zealand and the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust following the 2011 earthquakes.