Congratulations to A Better Start National Science Challenge board member Dr Collin Tukuitonga, who has been knighted in the 2022 Queen’s Birthday honours.
Sir Collin is one of three new knights “who reflect the very best of New Zealand,” says Prime Minister Jacinda Arden.
Sir Collin was made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in recognition of his services to the Pacific community and public health. He has dedicated his life to bridging Pasifika health inequities, including helping to boost Covid immunisation in the Pacific community over the past two years.
“Dr Collin Tukuitonga has undoubtedly improved the lives of our Pacific communities through his work on health and welfare, particularly ensuring high vaccination rates, says Ms Ardern.
Some of the achievements highlighted in his knighthood citation, include being a founding member of the Pacific Medical Association; setting up Pacific Heartbeat at the National Heart Foundation; being one of the researchers who won the funding to establish the first longitudinal study of Pacific families at AUT (Pacific Islands Family Study) that is still active today; writing the first health report on Pacific Families and highlighting the inequities in New Zealand for Pacific people; and being the head of multiple organisations initiating firsts for Pacific people.
Sir Collin is an associate professor of public health at the University of Auckland, and has dedicated his life to bridging Pasifika health inequities, which have been exacerbated during the pandemic.
During the 2021 outbreak, he supported the contact tracers and Pasifika team at Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS). He is also on the technical advisory group for the Ministry of Health and works with grassroots organisations, the Niuean community, and schools to spread information about the virus and vaccine.