Six Kiwi Indians and Fiji Indians have made into the Queen’s Birthday honours list released by the government on Monday, June 1. Of the hundreds named in the bi-annual honours list, these six Kiwi Indians have been awarded for their services to different sectors of the Indian community in New Zealand. 

Pravin Kumar, Maher Angez Singh, Chandu Daji, Afiff Shah and Suresh Chunilal Patel have been bestowed with the Queen’s Service Medal (QSM), and title and Dr Arish Chakravarthi Naresh from Wellington has been made Member of New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM).

Dr Arish Chakravarthi Naresh: MNZM, or services to the community and dentistry

Dr Arish Naresh is a JP, has contributed to dentistry and his local community in the past 13 years since moving to New Zealand at the age of 21 from Fiji. 

Dr Naresh is the Manager of Dental Services for the Tairawhiti District Health Board and the former Chief Allied Health Officer for the Capital and Coast District Health Board. 

Dr Arish Naresh

He initiated the first publically funded maternal oral health service Hapu Mama Oranga Niho and launched the Te Herenga Ora: He Mahi Kokiri strategy at CCDHB. He is Chairperson of the New Zealand Dental and Oral Health Therapists’ Association. 

He is a founding member and President of the International Oral Health Association, an international body representing approximately 100,000 mid-level oral health practitioners globally. He has founded, helped establish or supported the Tairawhiti Multicultural Council, Gisborne Colour Run for Diversity, Whanganui Festival of Cultures, Gizzy School Lunches, and a free lunch scheme for homeless and underprivileged Gisborne residents. 

Dr Naresh has been a board member of UNICEF New Zealand, Co-chairperson of Ship for World Youth New Zealand, National Vice President of Multicultural New Zealand, and is a National Ambassador for White Ribbon New Zealand.

Pravin Kumar, JP: QSM for services to Indian Community

Pravin Kumar is a well-known businessman and community leader based in Te Atatu, West Auckland. Mr Kumar is the chairperson of Shri Ram Mandir Charitable Trust established in 2011 who worked tirelessly with his team of trustees and community members to establish and construct New Zealand’s first Ram temple on 11 Brick Street in Henderson. 

Pravin Kumar

The temple completes four years of its establishment in June this year that has helped worshippers in the West Auckland region pray, gather for events and festivals and has also conducted several programs and initiatives to help the community in the region. 

Mr Kumar was the President of the Waitakere Hindi School and contributed immensely to its growth and progress. 

Maher Angez Singh: QSM for services to seniors and community

Maher Angez Singh has been working towards the betterment of the community, with a particular focus on the senior citizens for several years. 

Maher Angez Singh

Mrs Singh has worked with New Zealand Police helping senior citizens victims of elder abuse in the community. She has been the member of the New Zealand Indian Senior Citizens Association and also chaired for four years between 2007 and 2011, and currently chairs New Zealand Fiji Senior Citizens Associations. 

Chandu Daji, JP: QSM for services to Indian community and sports

Chandu Daji came to New Zealand at the age of 8 and first settled in Otahuhu. Early in his life while running his fruit shop, Mr Daji was elected as Auckland Retail Fruiterers’ Association and held the position for nine years. 

Mr Daji has been an active member of the Auckland Indian Association Inc. that has completed is one hundred years of establishment in 2019 and 20. He has served as an executive member for 20 years, and also as a vice president and President. 

Chandu Daji

Mr Daji later served as an executive committee member of the Auckland Indian Sports Club for 33 years during which he represented the club on the Auckland Hockey Association Junior Management Committee and Auckland Cricket Association Board of Control and a club delegate to the NZ Indian Sports Association. 

Mr Daji as appointed as a Justice of Peace in 2008, is a member of Westhaven Rotary Club for 25 years and also a recipient of ‘Paul Harris Fellow’, an award given to someone whose life demonstrates a share of purpose with objectives and mission of the Rotary Foundation. 

Afiff Shah, JP: QSM for services to the Muslim community and football

Affif Shah has been integral in the establishment of the Al Iqra Islamic Trust in the year 2000 and the Islamic Centre, a place of worship for the Muslim community in far south of Auckland, in Takanini and Papakura region. 

Mr Shah is a member of the South Auckland Muslim Association for 30 years now and held the position of Council Chairperson between 2009 and 2011. 

Affif Shah

A sports enthusiast, Mr Shah also served as the chairman of the Papatoetoe United Football Club from 1998 and Coach of the club from 1997 and 2000. Mr Shah was the founding President of the New Zealand Fiji Soccer Inc., which is now known as New Zealand Fiji Football Association Inc. 

For his services to the Muslim community and promoting football- establishing several tournaments for generations to play and grow in the sport- Mr Shah was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal. 

Suresh Chunilal Patel, JP: QSM for services to community and sport

The flag bearer of the 98-year establishment in Dannevirke, Suresh Chunilal Patel was honoured with QSM for his services to the community and sports. 

The Chunilal family has been an integral part of the growing Indian community since 1922 when W. Shires & Co. was established, and with years passing by, the firm named changed several time to now known as ‘Shires Fruit & Vege Market’. 

Suresh Chunilal Patel

Under Mr Suresh Chunilal, the third generation of the Chunilal fraternity in New Zealand, his business has been highly placed in the annual ‘Dannevirke Business of the Year Award’, participated in the Dannevirke Christmas Parade and won the best Christmas float on many occasions.

The business has supported several sporting and cultural activities in the Dannevirke region.

For his contribution towards the community and sports, Mr Suresh Chunilal Patel was named in the Queen’s Birthday honours list 2020.