Kataraina O'Brien has joined four other Bay residents and been awarded a Queen's Birthday Honours for her services to Maori and the community. She has been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Mrs O'Brien has been a member of the Maori Women's Welfare League since 1967 and over that time held several positions, including manager of the Whanau Toko i te Ora project.

She is national president of the Maori Women's Welfare League.

She first got into the group because of other influential Maori women in her life.


"It was because of the role modelling I had from prominent woman from this organisation. I love what they do, it is about uplifting women and their families, uplifting the wellbeing and that can be done through a number of ways through upskilling, parenting and support."

Ms O'Brien was on the league's Tainui Regional Executive Board for 12 years and served as president of the Matua Branch.

The 74-year-old said she enjoyed seeing positive outcomes for Maori families.

"Especially those who have alcohol and drug abuse issues, lack of parenting skills because it's never been role modelled to them ...

"I am a mother, a grandmother and a great grandmother so those support tools I use, I use them with my own family, too," she said.

Before being involved with the league, Mrs O'Brien was an educationalist, who taught at Auckland Girl's Grammar School, Otumoetai College and Tauranga Girl's College.