Hinemoa Elder
Member of the NZ Order of Merit

Child psychiatrist Hinemoa Elder says she's deeply humbled and overwhelmed to have been recognised in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours.

Dr Elder has been made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to psychiatry and Māori.

"I feel deeply humbled and somewhat overwhelmed. It is a great honour so it is very humbling," she told the Herald.

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The child and adolescent psychiatrist has strongly advocated for greater awareness of Māori cultural needs in the health sector.

She specialises in youth forensic psychiatry and neuropsychiatric assessment and treatment for Māori with traumatic brain injuries.

Elder has worked in this area in the Waikato, Auckland and Northland regions writing reports for the adult, youth and family courts.

She has been a deputy psychiatrist member on the Mental Health Review Tribunal, a fellow of the Royal Australia and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, and a professor of indigenous mental health research at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi.

Elder was also involved in the development of mental health services in New Zealand as part of the expert advisory group of Blueprint II, and has been the Māori strategic adviser for Brain Research New Zealand since 2016.

She is also a staunch advocate for the use of te reo Māori in all settings, including research and medical practice.

Among her many accolades, Elder said she's most proud of the work she does with her patients.

"I am very proud to work alongside people who are often at their most desperate and vulnerable – so I get to see the incredible courage and bravery that people bring to their very difficult and challenging daily lives.

"That is something I value incredibly deeply."

She said being made an MNZM was an honour for not only her personally, but also the teams she works with and the groups she is part of.

"I don't have a sense that it is bestowed on me alone, it's very much about the groups of people that I contribute to in a range of ways - trying to support people to achieve a sense of self determination and well-being as a psychiatrist, and a Māori psychiatrist."