Katie Murray's mission is to change the lives of as many people as she can, very much for the better. And her dedication to that cause has been recognised with a second royal honour.
Mrs Murray, who received the Queen's Service Medal, for services to the community, in 2003, is today named as a Member of the NZ Order of Merit, for services to Māori and the community.
She has run the family-focused social service organisation the Waitomo Papakainga Development Trust in Kaitaia for 30 years, chaired and served as a trustee of Te Hiku Iwi Development Trust for three years, including membership of Te Hiku Accord, and in 2013 initiated the bringing together of iwi/Māori social service providers in Te Hiku to form Te Kahu Oranga Whānau.
She drove the establishment of a partnership between Te Kahu Oranga Whānau and Oranga Tamariki, and last year was the lead organiser of the Safe and Effective Justice hui in Rotorua.
In her efforts to reduce family violence in Kaitaia, she also helped to initiate Whiria te Muka, the collaborative partnership between the police and iwi/Māori providers in Te Hiku, while last year she set up a shelter for the homeless and to provide meals on Sundays for families experiencing financial hardship.
She has been a member of key advisory bodies for Oranga Tamariki and the Ministry of Social Development, was deputy chair of Te Rūnanga o Te Rarawa for eight years, and has connected with Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata people of Winnipeg, Canada, to share knowledge of working with indigenous peoples.
None of that, however, was achieved in isolation. Then officer in charge of the Kaitaia police, Senior Sergeant Geoff Ryan, then Northland District Commander Superintendent Russell le Prou, Te Rarawa chairman Haami Piripi, Shona Hobson and others had all been strong advocates of Whiria te Muka, which she and others formally presented to police at Wellington's National Headquarters, where the concept was warmly received.
Many had also been involved in forming the partnership with Oranga Tamariki, which had taken three or four years to establish, but had now been in place for 12 months and was working well.
The focus there was specifically on putting an end to the uplifting of children from the care of their families, which was now at the lowest rate it had ever been in hers community.
Mrs Murray said, cautiously, that those who were working so hard to make so many lives better were "winning," but P (methamphetamine) and poverty were still getting in the way.
"Many parents, as children themselves, were brought up in poverty, and that is their way of thinking," she said.
And while it was very gratifying to be recognised, her honour was one to be shared with all who had helped her get to where she was today. Many of those people were still living in Kaitaia, while others had died, "wonderful women who looked after me, mentored and supported me."
Other Far North residents to receive honours are the Right Rev Te Kītohi Wiremu Pikaahu (Paihia), Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the Anglican Church and Māori; Burton Ross Shipley (Russell), ONZM for services to basketball; and James George (Jim) Powdrill (Kaikohe), the Queen's Service Medal for services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand.