January 01, 2022
Filipaina credits mother for honour
South Auckland local body leader Alf Filipaina is dedicating his New Year’s Honour to his late mother, Sissie Remana, from Awarua in the far north.
A tearful Filipaina says his mother, who died in 2008, raised six boys on her own after their father left the whānau in 1984.
The former policeman and the first Pacific councillor elected to Auckland Council has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the New Zealand Police and the community.
“I’m really humbled – you don’t go looking for things like that.”
Filipaina was the first Pacific liaison officer with the police, co-created the Counties Manukau Pacific Wardens and established the Auckland Regional Pacific Wardens.
In 2003, he was elected to the Manukau City Council and in 2010 to the Manukau ward of the newly formed Auckland Council as the super city’s first Māori and Pacific councillor.
He’s been director of Counties Manukau Rugby League since 2016 and also helped set up the Counties Manukau Police rugby league team and the first Trans-Tasman game against the New South Wales.
The Minister of Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, welcomed the honour.
He says Filipaina has also been at the forefront of the current Covid-19 response – “I think he’s just been a tireless champion for everyone in South Auckland.”