Central Leader : January 11th 2012
www.aucklandnow.co.nz Wednesday, January 11, 2012 FREE ACCIDENT CARE ALL AGES ALL HOURS ALL CLINICS Phone 0800 611 111 or visit www.whitecross.co.nz Open longer. Caring more * *some material charges may apply Honours a double delight Community-minded couple: Husband and wife George Arulanantham and Anne Uma George have both received New Year honours in the form of a Queen's Service Medal. Mrs George's award is for services to the community and Mr Arulanantham's is for services to the Tamil community. Photo: JASON OXENHAM By RHIANNON HORRELL OTHER LOCAL RECIPIENTS Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit: Professor Margaret Anne Brimble, MNZM, Epsom, for services to science. Professor Brimble is head of the Brimble Group, a team of highly qualified and experienced researchers at the University of Auckland. As a researcher she has focused on synthesis of bioactive natural products, ie, shellfish toxins as anticancer, antibacterial and antiviral agents. Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit: Eseta Fifita Finau, Greenlane, for services to health and the Pacific community. Ms Finau is president and spokeswoman of the Tongan Nurses Association of New Zealand. She has spent much of her working life improving nursing services for Pacific people, especially Auckland's 40,000-strong Tongan community. Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit: Dr John Scott Carnachan, Epsom, for services to medicine and the community. Dr Carnachan has worked as a GP in Royal Oak for more than 30 years. He was a medical officer for the Auckland Commonwealth Games and served in Vietnam with the New Zealand Medical Corps. He is renowned for the level of care he provides to his patients, his deep sense of humility and his medical acumen. Mary Bernadette Chamberlain, Mt Eden, for services to education. Ms Chamberlain is an education consultant and was the group manager of curriculum teaching and learning design with the Ministry of Education. She has led key initiatives in the New Zealand Curriculum Framework and the National Standards. David Oliver Jones, Mt Eden, for services to business and the economy. Mr Jones is a barrister and solicitor and chairman of the New Zealand Takeovers Panel. In 1991 he was appointed as a pro bono adviser to the Minister of Justice for the company law reform programme and contributed to the passing of the Companies Act in 1993. He has also been a lecturer in company law at Auckland University and was involved in advising New Zealand rugby players as they negotiated with the World Rugby Corporation. A HUSBAND and wife have proven themselves a formi- dable pair. They work to help inte- grate refugees into Kiwi society and have excelled in their respective fields since escaping Sri Lanka in 1998. George Arulanantham and Anne Uma George from Hills- borough have both received a Queen's Service Medal in the 2012 New Year honours. They are not sure if any other couples have received awards simultaneously and say it may be a first. They sent a letter from the governor-general's office to say we'd been nominated. A week before Christmas another letter came to say we have been honoured,'' Mr Arulanantham says. We were really surprised and honoured,'' Mrs George says. Maybe people have been noticing what we are doing in the community. We feel like what we have been doing has been acknow- ledged. We are happy.'' After fleeing Sri Lanka the family spent time in Thailand before heading to New Zea- land. Mrs George is the co- ordinator of the Tamil Com- munity Education Centre in Mt Roskill and has been based there since 2003. It's language-based. We have a playgroup and we cater for adults too.'' She is passionate about empowering women and co- ordinates the Auckland Refu- gee Community Coalition Women's Group. We hold workshops to help them develop on their own,'' she says. Mrs George has also been a board member of the Mt Ros- kill Community House Advis- ory Committee, the vice- chairwoman of the Auckland Refugee Community Coal- ition, a member of the Auck- land Refugee Council and a member of the Asian Social Service of New Zealand. She also helps to establish com- munity playgroups. Mr Arulanantham esti- mates there are 3500 Tamil people in Auckland and 5500 across the country. He was heavily involved in human rights work when he first arrived here and did his best to highlight the plight of Sri Lankan people to politicians and other groups. Most of us come as refugees to avoid being killed or tortured or raped. When we stay here, if friends or family are captured by the army at home and are tortured, that will affect the settlement here. The aim is to integrate with mainstream society. Internationally, Tamil people are living all over the world. We are proud of working on human rights for any com- munity.'' He says the situation in Sri Lanka is far from over. It's become worse. Every- thing is controlled by the army. The international com- munity can help solve the issue.'' Mr Arulanantham works for Flotech, an Auckland com- pany that focuses on renew- able energy and turning waste into fuel, and after working as an engineer he is now the global service man- ager. This year he will move into research and development. I'm humbled and proud,'' he says of the award. There are a lot of volunteers work- ing with me and I feel this honour is for the community rather than just myself.'' The couple say an elder helped to guide them -- Dr Nagalingam Rasalingam. The Glen Innes resident has been helping immigrants adjust to life in New Zealand for more than 25 years. Mrs George and Mr Arulanantham have two daughters aged 24 and 17 -- one of whom is at high school and the other is finishing a law degree and has won a youth award for human rights work. If you would like to get involved with the Tamil Community Education Centre phone 625-6255.
December 28th 2011
January 13th 2012