King’s Birthday Honours

At today’s full Council meeting Waimakariri District Mayor Dan Gordon acknowledged those from the District who were recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours yesterday.

Mayor Dan also offered his congratulations on behalf of the Waimakariri District Council to all those honoured.

“Congratulations to the amazing Kiwis who received King’s Birthday Honours yesterday, and in particular an especially big congratulations to those from the Waimakariri District - Mrs Arihia Darryl Bennett, Mr Bernard Lawerence Power (Bernie) and Mrs Elizabeth Hera Cunningham – who although doesn’t live in our District has a long history of working with our Council in her role at Environment Canterbury, Civil Defence and Greater Christchurch Partnership.

“I am delighted to have known and worked with these people and to see them recognised for their exemplary service and dedication is fantastic.”

Photo: RNZ

Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM)

BENNETT, Mrs Arihia Darryl, MNZM

For services to Māori, governance and the community.

Mrs Arihia Bennett (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Porou, Ngāpuhi) was the first woman and the longest serving Chief Executive Officer of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu from 2012 to 2024.

Under Mrs Bennett’s leadership, Ngāi Tahu worked with the government and Christchurch City Council to assist with the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes and the 2019 Christchurch terrorist attack. She oversaw the growth of iwi finances and assets, which amount to more than $1.9 billion and include more than $600 million in properties.

She has been involved with Ngāi Tahu connecting with learning institutions in the United States of America, supporting iwi to work with green energy including hydrogen. She was CEO of He Oranga Pounamu from 2011 to 2012, the iwi mandated organisation for health and social services in the South Island. She is a member of the Pūhara Mana Tangata Māori advisory panel to the Ombudsman’s Office and has been a member of the New Zealand-China Council. She is a member of the Global Women’s Network and the Tuahiwi Māori Women’s Welfare League.

In 2021 she was appointed as Chair of the Ministerial Advisory Group to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the 2019 Christchurch terrorist attack. Mrs Bennett has served on the Boards of Barnardos New Zealand and the Christchurch Women’s Refuge (now Aviva).

Kings Service Medal (KSM)

POWER, Mr Bernard Lawrence (Bernie), OStJ

For services to the community.

Mr Bernie Power has made a significant community contribution to the Waimakariri District for more than 60 years.

Mr Power first joined St John as a Cadet in 1956 as part of the Youth Programme. He has served with St John since then, both as a volunteer and from 1989 to 2010 as an operational paramedic. In 2011 he was elected to the Rangiora Area Committee and joined the Hato Hone St John North Canterbury Fellowship.

Since 2020 he has volunteered at the St John Opportunity Shop in Rangiora. He served for six years as Rangiora RSA Vice President and 12 years as President between 1994 and 2016. He was instrumental in the redevelopment of the RSA Club buildings between 2016 and 2019 and has been active in the fundraising for the provision of mobility aids and other services to members. He first joined the North Canterbury Caledonian Pipe Band in 1962, becoming Drum Corporal, Drum Sergeant, and then Drum Major. Mr Power served as Vice President of the band for more than 25 years.


Officer of the Order of St John, 1993

Serving Brother of the Order of St John, 1986

Kings Service Order (KSO)

CUNNINGHAM, Mrs Elizabeth Hera, JP

For services to governance.

Mrs Elizabeth Cunningham (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Irakehu, Ngāti Mutunga ki Wharekauri) has had a career spanning more than 50 years, focusing on the intergenerational health and wellbeing of whānau.

Mrs Cunningham served as President of the Māori Women’s Welfare League Rāpaki branch from 2009 to 2022, having been a member since 1978 and chaired Te Waipounamu Māori Women’s Welfare League steering committee. She was the first Māori elected to the Canterbury Area Health Board from 1991 to 1993, the first Māori elected as Canterbury Councillor for the Environment from 2004 to 2007 and chaired the Māori Advisory Committee for Environment Canterbury.

In 2016 she was appointed a Commissioner for Environment Canterbury and led its climate change policy, one of the first in New Zealand. She has been the elected representative of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu since 2006, supporting the economic and cultural investments of her iwi at a national level. She was Chair of Kawawhakaruruhau at Ara Institute’s School of Nursing/Midwifery from 2000 to 2012, having oversight of the programme and training. She was the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority Governor from 2011 to 2016. She chaired Te Awheawhe Rū Whenua, a subcommittee established by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, responding to the needs of the community. Mrs Cunningham has been a regional member of the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group since 2020.