A Ngati Ranginui elder has been recognised on 2018's New Year Honours list for services to Maori.
Colin Bidois has been named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
The 86-year-old now lives in Greerton after many years in Pyes Pa, and says it was a surprise to be nominated for the honour, which he has accepted.
“Humility comes up in these situations, but I'm not overly humble,” he says.
Colin spent much of his childhood and adult life away from Tauranga. His family moved out of the district when he was around four years old, when his father took a job as a constable in the Urewera.
He returned in the 1990s, where significant changes were underway in Maoridom.
“There was a movement for Maori society to become more structurally organised,” says Colin. “Up until then, the kaumatua totally ran Maoridom. There was a need for change, for the elders to focus on maintaining tikanga, while the younger generation looked after things in the fast-evolving business world.”
Colin served more than 10 years as the chairman of Runanga o Ngati Ranginui, and says the iwi's only asset when he started was their waka.
“I set myself a goal to get our expenditure up to $1 million on health, welfare, land, and fisheries services, that we were responsible for,” he says. “I retired when I achieved this.”
He was also instrumental in establishing the Runanganui o Tauranga Moana, which brought together the three tribes of Tauranga Moana.
“At one stage there was much squabbling between the three iwi in Tauranga. So we set up this committee to combine efforts on certain issues.”
One of the runanga's achievements was the return of Mauao to iwi ownership – something Colin emphasises was a group effort.
“The ownership of Mauao had been taken away by the government via devious methods in the 19th century,” he says. “I was very proud to chair the committee that saw it returned. I see it as a highlight of the substantial work done by that committee.”
He believes the biggest issue facing Ngati Ranginui now is how the tribe will use the money they receive as redress for the confiscations.
“I would like them to speak with Tainui and Ngai Tahu – people like Mark Solomon. They received their settlements, which have grown to assets worth more than $1 billion. Now their people are seeing the benefits in health and education.”
Although Colin has taken a backseat in terms of direct leadership, he and wife Wiki still receive many visitors at their home, with people seeking counsel from the kaumatua.
“I see my role now is to be an elder, and to look after issues of tikanga. That is a privilege. There are many older Pakeha who have a lot of knowledge to offer, but do not get to have as much of an input back into society.”
New Year Honours - Bay of Plenty and Coromandel
BIDOIS, Mr Colin Maungapohatu
For services to Maori
Mr Colin Bidois was Chairman of Rūnanga o Ngāti Ranginui from 1992 to 2005 and under his leadership the iwi has improved the delivery of social and health services and developed relationships with other Tauranga iwi, local and central government agencies.
Mr Bidois was inaugural chairman of the Ngāti Ranginui Iwi Fisheries Trust from 1995 to 2007. As chairman he has ensured continued growth of the fisheries asset and the benefits returned to iwi through marae and education grants.
He was instrumental in establishing the Runanganui O Tauranga Moana, specifically set up to progress the return of Mauao to the iwi of Tauranga. As chair of this organisation he was the main negotiator with local government and the Crown.
Ownership of Mauao was returned to the three Tauranga iwi after five years and the Mauao Trust was established as the governance entity. He was one of eight hapū negotiators representing Ngāti Ranginui through the settlement process to the signing of a Deed of Settlement in 2012.
He was iwi representative on the Tauranga City Council Tangata Whenua Collective from 2005 to 2015. Mr Bidois was chairperson of the Tauranga Police Liaison Committee for four years and was appointed to the Bay of Plenty District Health Board for six years.
HARTLEY, Mr Denis Louis
For services to aviation and rescue services
Mr Denis Hartley has been involved with commercial aviation since the late 1950s, has flown helicopters since 1968, and was the founder and executive of the Eastland Helicopter Rescue Service.
Using donations from the community Mr Hartley purchased rescue equipment, jaws-of-life, lighting equipment and initiated the first community-owned air-ambulance helicopter in New Zealand.
The Eastland Helicopter Rescue Service evolved from his many helicopter rescues and air-ambulance flights, particularly those performed during Cyclone Bola in 1988 when he rescued people from rooftops, cars and flood-waters and performed air-ambulance flights and relief operations to isolated communities throughout the East Coast region.
He established the East Coast Search and Rescue Squad and Tokomaru Bay marine communications. He equipped and trained Rescue Squads linked to the First Response Fire Brigade in each community from Tolaga Bay around the East Cape to Opotiki.
He pioneered helicopter live-line human-sling powerline maintenance in New Zealand, a now worldwide procedure he introduced to China and India.
He was a committee member of the New Zealand Aviation Industry Association Air-Ambulance Division, Helicopter Advisor for the Aviation Tourism and Travel Training Organisation, and Regional Safety Officer for the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority.
Mr Hartley continues to be involved with the Coastguard and Ohope Lions.
SHERRY, Mr Philip James, JP
For services to local government and broadcasting
Mr Philip Sherry has had a career in broadcasting and local government and has supported the Catholic Church and community for more than 50 years.
Mr Sherry was a radio and television broadcaster and newsreader for Radio New Zealand News, Morning Report, TV1, TV2, and TV3 news and current affairs.
He became a councillor for the North Shore City Council and the Takapuna Community Board in 1992. He represented the North Shore on the Auckland Regional Council from 1995 to 2004, serving two terms as Deputy Chairman.
He was then elected to the Bay of Plenty Regional Council for four terms from 2004 to 2016, two as Deputy Chairman. He has supported a range of philanthropic causes and has most recently supported the Macular Degeneration New Zealand Society, campaigning pro bono to promote awareness of the disease.
Mr Sherry is active within the Catholic Church, is a Knight of St. Gregory the Great, a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, and a Justice of the Peace.
BULL, Mr John Alban
For services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand
Mr John Bull has been a volunteer firefighter in the Fire Service in New Zealand for more than 50 years, most recently in the Coromandel.
Mr Bull first served as a volunteer firefighter in Pureora Forest in 1964, before moving to the Kaingaroa Forest Brigade and then the Gisborne Brigade. He remains a serving volunteer firefighter in the Coromandel Volunteer Fire Brigade, which he joined in 1990.
His contribution to the four volunteer brigades he has served has been in both operational and training roles. He is well known as a coach and mentor for new members of the service, with his high personal standards and professional and technical skills setting him apart as a person to follow and learn from.
He has provided emergency response, community support, and public education to workplaces and other groups. He has also been active in the United Fire Brigades Association's competition events at local and national levels.
Mr Bull's contributions and commitment have been recognised by several life membership awards, service honours, and good conduct awards.
FARROW, Mr Roderick George (Rod)
For services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand and the forestry industry
Mr Rod Farrow has worked in a variety of positions in forestry management and fire control and he has been a key player in improving safety standards.
Mr Farrow began his career in 1957 and was the Principal Rural Fire Officer for the Tokoroa Rural Fire Authority for more than 10 years.
He was responsible for overseeing the adoption of modern fire management practices and was instrumental in adopting the innovative Remote Automatic Weather Stations to monitor weather conditions across a wide area and to share the information across the district.
His contributions to how forestry management monitors risks has led to better work practices that safeguard wood supply and increased fire response levels, and there were no large fires in the Tokoroa Rural Fire District during his tenure as the Principal Rural Fire Officer.
He collaborated with other fire management groups across the North and South Islands. He has participated in numerous training courses and has shared his knowledge with his colleagues to improve safety standards throughout the industry.
Mr Farrow was a member of the New Zealand Forest Owners Association's fire committee and he used his experiences and knowledge to improve fire safety standards.
TURNER, Mr Alan George
For services to the game of bridge
Mr Alan Turner has contributed services to the game of bridge for more than 30 years.
Mr Turner began playing bridge at university. He is currently ranked fifth on the all-time list of Master Points for New Zealand and is a Gold Grand Master.
He has represented Waikato Bays District at many Interprovincial teams Championships. He represented New Zealand in Teams from 1975 until 2015 as both a player or a non-playing captain.
He has been a member of the Tauranga Bridge Club since 1973. He was a Club Captain for more than 10 years, President for three terms and was elected a life member of the Club in 1986.
He was also President of the New Zealand Contract Bridge Association and Chairman of the Management Committee.
He has served on the Board of NZBridge since 2007. A teacher by trade, he has worked to develop comprehensive teaching materials for clubs to use and tutored beginner and advanced players in Tauranga and other clubs in the Waikato Bays district.
Mr Turner is a National Director and conducts seminars for new directors on the laws of the game and how to direct sessions.
WIHAPI, Reverend Rereamanu Patana
For services to Māori
Reverend Rereamanu Wihapi is a respected kaumatua, leader and educator of te reo Māori and tikanga within his community.
Reverend Wihapi is a member of Rangiuru Sports Club and currently serves as kaumatua and President. He has been Minister in Charge of Te Puke Anglican Church and has been kaumatua and cultural advisor to Te Puke High School. He has been Chairperson of Tapuika Iwi kaumatua council since 2002. He has been a Director and Trustee of Otukawa Farm Trust since 2002 and Trustee of Mangorewa Kaharoa Trust since 2007. Reverend Wihapi has been a Trustee of Tuhourangi Marae since 2007.
For the full list of 2018 New Year Honours, visit the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet website.