Decades of service recognised
Barney Thomas (pictured) was today awarded Te Tohu Ratonga Tūmatanui o Aotearoa, the New Zealand Public Service Medal as recognition for 40 years of civil service.
Barney has worked for Te Papa Atawhai, the Department of Conservation for many years, and more recently has moved into a shared role, splitting his time between the Department and Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Rārua where he works as Pou Ahurea.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Rārua pouwhakahaere (CEO) Shane Graham said the medal was a fitting reward.
“Barney works tirelessly behind the scenes in service to the public. He attends countless early morning blessings, karakia and mauri ceremonies. You’ll find him at whale strandings, placing or lifting rāhui, and at building openings.
“Last week he played a pivotal role at Te Mana Kuratahi; on Friday he helped bless Aorere, the Department of Conservation’s new marine ranger vessel.
“He is also often called upon to guide agencies through difficult situations where human tragedies have occurred and blessings are required. This is not easy work, but Barney always maintains a sense of duty, and of dignity.
“Long service in public roles is becoming rare, and we thank Barney for his commitment and energy. He thoroughly deserves this award.”