Even though the call for nominations for the national awards is still open, the government over the weekend announced that it had already decided to award the highest national award of the Niue Distinguished Service Cross to Hon. Pokotoa Ikiua Lalotoa Sipeli for his dedication and lifetime service to the people of Niue.
The award was presented by the Premier Hon. Dalton Tagelagi to Hon. Pokotoa Sipeli in Sydney, Australia, in a special ceremony hosted by the Niue Community of Sydney at the Ramsgate Church. Premier Tagelagi was accompanied by the long-serving Assemblyman of Vaiea Talaititama Talaiti to present the award.
The Niue Distinguished Service Cross (NDSC) is awarded to Hon. Pokotoa Sipeli for his more than 60 years of service to the country.
Hon. Sipeli was educated in Niue and trained as a teacher at Niue’s Teachers’ Training Centre. His career as a teacher started in 1960 as a teacher trainee and then as a teacher at Halavai Primary School for 11 years. In 1982 he worked in the Education Department’s Curriculum Unit, followed by a further six years as an Education Production Officer.
He was first elected as the Member of Assembly from the village of Liku in 1993 and has since carried the role for the past 29 years.
From 2008 to 2020 he served as Minister in the Cabinet led by former Premier the late Sir Toke Talagi, serving 12 years as a cabinet minister.
According to the government statement Hon. Sipeli is a great mentor to many current and past politicians, a great listener and communicator, and a man with a big heart, presence, and a great sense of humour.
For this reason, he was awarded the Distinguished Cross Medal, an honour bestowed on him for his many years of outstanding service to the people and nation of Niue
BCN News understands that Hon. Sipeli has been living in Sydney for the past few months due to ill health.
Hon. Pokotoa Ikiua Lalotoa Sipeli’s name will be added to the 2022 Honours List.
The government’s Honours List started in 2020 and has been seen as the highlight of the annual flag-raising ceremony during the Constitution celebrations in October.
Earlier recipients of the Niue Distinguished Service Cross include former Premier Hon. Young Vivian and long-serving Assemblyman from the village of Namukulu Hon. Jack Willie Lipitoa.
The call for nominations for the Niue Honours Awards 2022 will close on the 7th of October.