In a ceremony on September 1, 2017 in Wellington, New Zealand, Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy honored ICASO Board Chair Marama Mullen-Tamati MNZOM with investiture. Ms. Mullen-Tamati, familiar to some as Marama Pala, was recognized for her service to the indigenous Māori people of New Zealand, as well as her international work on behalf of indigenous peoples, women, and people living with HIV. Marama was honored along with 21 other Kiwis.
Investiture is a system for recognizing citizens who have made major contributions to society, and is used across fifteen countries of the British Commonwealth. Investiture is a high honor, which formally comes from the monarch of New Zealand, being Queen Elizabeth II. The Governor-General is the Queen’s official representative in New Zealand.
The Governor-General’s website describes Marama’s work as founder and executive director of INA (Māori, Indigenous & South Pacific) HIV/AIDS Foundation as the primary reason for her being honored. INA is a New Zealand-based organization that, “focuses on indigenous approaches to HIV and tuberculosis.” In addition, her work with ICASO, the International Community of Women Living with HIV, and the AIDS 2018 conference were also cited as important contributions she has made.
The ICASO board and staff extends its congratulations to Marama. “Marama is an inspiration for many around the world. Her work on behalf of and for indigenous people has been groundbreaking. I am very proud that she is our Chair,” said Mary Ann Torres, Executive Director of ICASO.