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Honours come after many years of service

Retired Fonterra chairman John Monaghan is a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. PHOTO/HELEN HOLT

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Wairarapa’s John Monaghan has been made Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the dairy industry.

The retired Fonterra chairman said the honour was completely unexpected.

“I was very humbled and proud to receive the award.

“[Dairy] is an industry I’m fond of and happy to contribute.

“It’s New Zealand’s biggest business, and it has prospered, despite difficult times. The scale of the industry is huge.

“Our farmers’ success has contributed to the wellbeing of most New Zealanders.”

Monaghan grew up on a dairy farm in northern Wairarapa. The farm has been in his family for several generations.

He was an inaugural Fonterra Shareholders councillor from its inception and became the council chairman from 2004 to 2007.

In 2008 he joined the board of directors, serving on a range of committees, including as the inaugural chairman of the

Fonterra Governance Development programme and chairman of both the External Relations Committee, and the Co-Operative Relations Committee.

During his tenure, Fonterra’s China Strategy built a $4 billion revenue business, with the co-operative now holding 40 per cent of dairy imports into mainland China.

In 2011 Fonterra partnered with Silver Fern Farms to establish Kotahi, which aimed to advance New Zealand’s export supply chain.

Monaghan’s time on the board also saw the co-operative’s creation of the GlobalDairyTrade auction platform, establishing a transparent international pricing benchmark for the industry, which saw more than $10 billion of milk money paid out to

Fonterra’s farmers in each of the last three seasons.

Monaghan chaired Fonterra from 2018 to 2020, overseeing a reset of the co-operative’s strategy and culture, and a global change management process. He was a director of Wellington Centrepoint Limited.

He did a lot of travelling during his time on the board.

“The global market is fundamental to the success. It required a lot of domestic and global travel. I had a lot of nights away from home.”

Since his retirement 18 months ago he was pleased to spend more time at home with his family.

He was grateful to his wife for supporting his career.

“She helped me to follow something I truly believe in.”

Within his community, Monaghan chaired Eketahuna School’s board of trustees and is former club captain and junior side coach of the Eketahuna Rugby Club.

Don Griffin

Don Griffin
Don Griffin to be an Officer of the Order of Merit for services to tertiary education.

Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to tertiary education and sport.

Griffin said the offer to be an ONZM was very unexpected.

“I was very surprised. I’ve been around such a long time.”

Griffin held multiple positions on local and national boards to help develop and advance the polytechnic education sector.

He joined the school of pharmacy in 1960 as a tutor at the Central Institute of Technology [CIT].

He went on to become the head of the school, deputy, and chief executive of CIT.

He oversaw a significant building programme for CIT and the academic development of the institute, including the drafting of the Diploma Regulations.

He was chairman of both the New Zealand Trades Certification Board and the Authority for Advanced Vocational Awards.

Griffin chaired the Forum of Chief Executives of all 24 polytechnics and Institutes from 1987 to 1992 as part of the Association of Polytechnics of New Zealand.

He said it was a considerable task to take views from both metro and rural polytechnics’ chief executives.

“Their priorities are very different. Most people who took it on did 12 months and left. It was a considerable task of length, mainly because no one else wanted to do it.”

He played a key role in establishing the New Zealand Polytechnics Programmes Committee, and was the lead auditor from 2000 to 2009. He was an external evaluator for the NZQA until 2013.

Griffin said he was most proud of helping to develop the curriculum in the CIT’s school of pharmacy.

“When I started, pharmacy education was very product-focused. It became evident that it needed to be more
focused on clinical pharmacy.

“I helped steer that change. It was something I was both pleased and privileged to do.”

He was also heavily involved in sports coaching for 34 years, including the Wellington senior rugby rep team.

After his retirement in 2013, Griffin and his wife moved from Eastbourne to a flat section in Carterton. Despite promising his wife he wouldn’t join another committee, he is now secretary of the local bowling club.

“You can stay on your lifestyle block and never meet anyone. I like to contribute, and I’ve made a lot of friends.”

Luther Toloa

Luther Toloa to receive QSM.
Luther Toloa to receive QSM.

Queen’s Service Medal for services to the Pacific community.

Toloa has dedicated his time to his community, not for the medal, but for the personal satisfaction of projects he believed in.

When Toloa was told he would be getting a QSM, all sorts of thoughts went through his head.

“Why me? There’s a lot of people who work just as hard and are just as deserving.

“I thought, if I don’t accept it, it’s disrespecting those who were part of the projects.”

Between 2007 and 2013, Toloa led the Joyita Project, to commemorate the disappearance of the MV Joyita in 1955, when the vessel went missing on a voyage between Samoa and Tokelau. It had 25 people from Tokelau, New Zealand, Samoa, UK, and US, whose bodies were never found.

Toloa said there was no effort to identify the people who died, apart from the three Europeans.

Toloa was inspired to start the project after travelling home to Tokelau for a year.

“The more material I read, the more I recognised gaps. The New Zealand government had no intent to do anything about it.”

He worked to track and identify the families of Pasifika people who went missing, to officially acknowledge their death.

He contacted every family member to connect and get the full names of each person.

Toloa and his team organised memorial plaques, one laid at Apia, Samoa, where the vessel left, and another at Fakaofo where it was meant to arrive.

He pulled together the memorial service in Wellington at Parliament grounds in 2011.

The project was ongoing, as Toloa was still advocating for a coronal declaration that they existed, and that they died.

Locally, Toloa instigated the Masterton netball facilities, after realising his granddaughters’ sport was left behind.

“I remember a Saturday morning when all the soccer and rugby was cancelled, but the netball was still on.”

He said the courts were completely inadequate.

“The toilets were shocking. My granddaughters deserve better.”

From then he got a group of similar minds, came up with a general plan and despite a small budget, they pulled together the multi-million dollar facilities.

Most recently, he established the Pasifika O Wairarapa Trust.

“The Pasifika community got left behind two years ago in the initial stages of covid.

“The two local iwi started supporting their whanau and they heard we were struggling. At that time we had no recognisable organisation.”

The former police officer put together an informal council which became a charitable trust. They communicated with the

Ministry of Social Development, the health board, and pacific futures, to help advocate for the Pacific community including proving a free flu jab, and delivered supplies including groceries and firewood.

“It is not about how important it is for me,” Toloa said.

“The thank yous, the text message from families overjoyed to get groceries they’d been looking forward to, seeing netball being played; that’s what matters to me.”

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