King's awards honour the efforts of Maori
The Maori King Tuheitia has launched an annual Kingitanga honour system to celebrate the efforts of Maori in the community.
The king said there was resistance to the awards but it was his "sincere desire" to acknowledge and celebrate people with their own system as well as those who receive government honours.
He revealed the honours during his annual Koroneihana address which would be announced on August 15 from next year which is the anniversary of the death of his mother, Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu.
His spokesman, Tukoroirangi Morgan, said it was important that Maori were honoured based on tikanga and their own values and beliefs.
"The Crown should not be the only people to recognise the work of our people.
"The king has devised an honours system to honour those who work for the benefit of our people in his own unique and distinct way."
Te Ati Awa leader Ihakara (Kara) Puketapu and former MP from Maniapoto Koro Wetere were the first recipients awarded with a Tohu Honore o te Taniwha (Order of the Taniwha).
Puketapu has declined nominations for national honours but Tuheitia said he would give the award to him personally when he travels to Waiwhetu Marae in Lower Hutt.
Her Highness Princess Abigail Kekaulike Kinoiki Kawananakoa of Hawai'i received the Illustrious Order of Te Arikinui Queen Te Atairangikaahu (supreme class) for services and contribution to Kingitanga and the Kahui Ariki (Royal Family).
A delegation will travel to Hawai'i to confer the honour on Princess Kekaulike.
Taini Puahaere Rutene was the personal secretary to Te Atairangikaahu and served Tuheitia when he succeeded the throne and was honoured with the Tohu Honore Taumata Tuatoru (Illustrious Order of Te Arikinui Queen Te Atairangikaahu (Third Class).
He recognised the service of Nita Gregory and intended to honour his personal advisers. firstname.lastname@example.org