By Tane Karamaina
Te Karere: TVNZ
“What for?” said Esther Jessop to Te Karere when she found out she had been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. “I feel very honoured, I really do feel very honoured. “Not just for me, but for all our Ngāti Rānana people. Ngāti Rānana, a London-based Māori culture club which now boasts a kōhanga reo, was founded 63 years ago in the late 1950s. Despite all of her years in the UK Jessop is fiercely proud of her Ngāi Tai heritage which she generously shared with Te Karere. “Ko Tainui te waka, ko Kapuarangi te maunga, ko Wainui te awa, ko Tōrerenui-a-Rua te tipuna, ko Tōrere te marae, ko Ngāi Tai te iwi.” She reminisced how societal travel norms were different in the 1950s. “It wasn’t an accepted thing to do when you left school. “It wasn’t an OE the way it became years later.” This isn’t the first time that Esther Jessop has been recognised for her services in building ties between New Zealand and the UK. In 2009, she was named as the Air NZ New Zealand of the Year at the New Zealand Society’s annual Waitangi Day Dinner at the Millenium Mayfair London Hotel. The award recognises outstanding contributions made by New Zealand or British nationals in presenting a positive image of the country in the UK. Part of the award recognised her continuing contribution to the wider New Zealand community throughout the UK and elsewhere.
2009 was also the year of Ngāti Rānana's 50th anniversary. At the time Jessop noted “Winning the award was a wonderful reward not only for myself but for all of us here in Ngati Ranana, the London Maori Cultural Club, in this our 50th anniversary year. "I really see this award as a tribute to all those members who have passed through Ngati Ranana and gone on to fine achievements in their lives and careers. "I feel proud that over the years we have been able to extend people's awareness in Britain and Europe of our country and our culture."
Original article HERE
The official listing of the Queen's Birthday Honours 2021 - Citations for Officers of the New Zealand Order of Merit HERE