Ranjna Patel added another laurel to her long list of accolades received for service to the Indian community in New Zealand when she was awarded Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in the recently announced New Year Honours List.

She was awarded in recognition of her services to health and the Indian community

Mrs Patel, QSM, JP, was the only Kiwi-Indian to be included in this year’s honours list.

The name Ranjna Patel does not need much introduction in the community.

Her name is often heard in conjunction with her equally popular and service-oriented, visionary and entrepreneur husband Dr Kanti Patel, who has received many awards and community recognition including Indian Weekender’s Hall of Fame award in 2016.

However, both have individual strong personalities, passion, and commitment to the community, which is a source of inspiration for many in the community and beyond.

Today, it’s Mrs Patel who deserves undiluted accolades and recognition for what she has contributed so far to the health sector in general and the Indian community in particular. 

Mrs Patel has been the driving force behind the expansion of Nirvana Health Group, one of New Zealand’s largest primary health networks, which she and her husband started as a sole GP practice in 1977.

The Nirvana Health Group now serves as an umbrella company for more than 30 medical clinics servicing 190,000 registered patients from predominantly lower socio-economic communities.

Mrs Patel sits on numerous advisory boards including Lotteries, MIT South Asian Advisory, and NZ Asian Leaders Group.

She was the first women president of Manukau Indian Association from 2010 to 2012 and has been a member of the executive committee of the New Zealand Indian Central Association.

She chaired the South Asian Leadership Group and is a member of the Counties Manukau South Asian Police Advisory Board, Commissioner’s Ethnic Focus Forum, the Middlemore Foundation Board, Kootuitui ki Papakura Trust, and Global Women.

She has held ministerial appointments to the National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women and the Lottery Auckland Distribution Committee.

Mrs Patel is a Trustee of International Swaminarayan Satsang Organisation (ISSO) and ISSO Seva, which provides programmes for seniors, youth, and the community.

Recently, she has taken an active role in early intervention for family violence prevention, working closely with New Zealand Police on a unique project called Ghandi Nivas, which offers counselling and temporary accommodation for family violence perpetrators.

A total of 192 Kiwis were on this New Year’s Honours list, representing all sectors of the society—business, arts, charity, entertainment, law enforcement, judiciary, sport, culture, tourism, education, community, and agriculture and farming. Of those, 75 were women and 117 men.