Church leader on NZ honours list
More than 35 years of service to the community and his church has earned Tongan Methodist leader Rev Kilifi Heimuli membership in the New Zealand Order of Merit.
Kilifi was made a member of the order in this year’s Queen's Birthday Honours. He received his award from Governor General Anand Satyanand at an investiture ceremony in Wellington on September 5.
Kilifi has served the NZ Methodist Church as well as this country’s Tongan community in many capacities. Currently he is co-superintendent of the Church’s Tongan synod. He was the chief steward of the Tongan Methodist Church for 21 years until 1998, and as a youth leader he supported new immigrants.
He was president of the Lay Preachers' Association, a member of the Development Division Board for Pacific Ministry for 10 years, and convenor of the Tongan Advisory Committee.
Kilifi also spent 16 years in the New Zealand Police and received a Queen's Service Medal in 1985 for this work. He has been leader of prison ministry for more than 30 years and a member of Pacific Island Polynesian Education Foundation and the Pacific Island Pre-School Steering Committee.
Other bodies Kilifi has served on include the Advisory Council for the Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, the Taonga Maori Board and the Maori and Pacific Arts Council.
When the Tonga’s King Tupou died Kilifi was one of those who accompanied the royal family and the king’s body back to Tonga.
During the awards ceremony the Governor-General said throughout its relatively short history New Zealand has achieved many remarkable things.
"Our nation’s successes are, without question, driven by our people. In this small country, we have a wealth of talent, innovation, spirit and compassion which belies our geographical size," he said.