The Hon. Dame Tariana Turia has been awarded the Blake Medal, the premium award for leadership achievement in New Zealand, by the Sir Peter Blake Trust.
The Blake Medal is given to acknowledge and celebrate an extraordinary New Zealand leader who has made an exceptional contribution to the country.
Dame Tariana is a leader with tenacity, vision and an unwavering drive to help others and the Blake Medal recognises her courageous leadership and determination to do everything she can to raise Māori achievement, health and prosperity.
Six Blake Leader Awards were also announced: Peter Beck, Dr. Miles Gregory, David Cameron, Soana Pamaka, Ali’imuamua Sandra Alofivae and Associate Professor Rochelle Constantine.
These awards are given to inspirational mid-career leaders who have shown determination, the will to succeed and a belief in achieving extraordinary things, in the style of Sir Peter Blake himself.
The Governor-General of New Zealand, The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy, presented the Blake Medal to Dame Tariana and Sarah-Jane Blake presented the six Blake Leader Awards on board HMNZS Canterbury on Friday 8 June in Auckland.
Dame Tariana’s achievements include:
- Setting up and running Te Oranganui Iwi Health Authority, New Zealand’s first and largest Iwi-led Primary Health Organisation.
- A strong advocate for Maori, Pasifika and people with disabilities.
- Leading the development of a number of key initiatives, such as a $65m investment in rheumatic fever prevention and an exhaustive smoking reform campaign.
- Leading the development of her flagship kaupapa, Whanau Ora, a wellbeing approach placing responsibility for finding solutions and making decisions with whanau. Today, 250 Whanau Ora navigators operate around the country, helping Maori and Pasifika families develop plans to better their lives.
- Appointed, alongside educator Turama Hawira, to act as the voice of the Whanganui River, since it gained its own legal identity and gained the same rights as a person. Dame Tariana describes this role as the “most important role of my life.”
- In 2015 Dame Tariana was made a Dame Companion of the Order of New Zealand for services as a Member of Parliament.
James Gibson, CEO of the Sir Peter Blake Trust says “Dame Tariana is one of this country’s exceptional and courageous leaders who has always served in the best interests of her people. Her tireless campaigns to help others prosper is an outstanding leadership legacy.”
“Our Blake Leaders have proven their unique leadership and ability to create positive change across their industries and communities. We are delighted to acknowledge and celebrate their outstanding leadership tonight,” says Gibson.