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Saturday, March 2, 2024

The Only Sri Lankan Community Newspaper in New Zealand

New Year Honours List 2024

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SrilankaNZ
SrilankaNZhttps://www.srilankanz.co.nz
ශ්‍රී LankaNZ is a free distributed Sri Lankan Community Newspaper that aims to reach a Sri Lankan population of over 18,000 all over New Zealand. The demand for entertainment in literacy media itself gave birth to ශ්‍රී LankaNZ

New Year Honours List 2024. In the list published by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet there are names of  three Sri Lankans, Dr Anne Perera form Auckland, Athula Wanasinghe and Sandun  Kithulagoda  form Wellington. 

Dr Anne Doloras Perera – New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM).

Dr Anne Doloras Perera, St Johns, Auckland, received the award for her services to food science and nutrition and the service to the community.  ‘I feel really humbled and honoured to be on this elite list to be recognized as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit,’ she says accepting, ‘such a high honour for the professional and community work she has done over the past 40 plus years in her adopted land of NZ.

Dr Anne featured in Sri LankaNZ , several times sharing her experience as a food and nutrition expert. She has a BSc (Hons) in Agriculture from Peradeniya University, a Masters Degree in Food Technology from the FAO International Food Technology Training Centre (IFTTC), a PhD in Food & Nutrition from Oregon State University , USA,  and an executive MBA in New Zealand. She has worked in the food technology field in many countries including Brazil, Tanzania, Singapore, the USA and New Zealand. Also she has served on executive committees of several professional, ethnic and community organisations and been in several voluntary organizations including a  project sponsored by Volunteer Service Abroad, New Zealand. where she is a Distinguished Member

But Dr Anne is more than an expert in food technology.  She has been known even in the creative writing field.  Once Sri LankaNZ reproduced one of her poems, LIKE THREADS IN A LACE, originally published in 1998. in 2002 Anne received a Merit Award from the International Society of Poets for her poems.

As per her life story narrated to Sri LankaNZ she lost her father when she was six months old. The mother re-married when Anne was twelve years old. It was a hard time for her.  She mentions it was  a time even losing her interest in life.  The book, Thank You for Being My Father’’, published in 2010, is an honour to her stepfather who guided her to make her life journey a success emerging out of this tragic situation. 

She was once a President of the United Sri Lanka Association (USLA) the most active Sri Lankan community association,  Auckland and a founder member, a President,  of the New Zealand Sri Lanka Foundation. 

Athula Cuda Bandara Wanasinghe

Athula Cuda Bandara Wanasinghe, JP,  has been awarded with The Queen’s Service Medal for his services to the Sri Lankan community and cricket.

Athula’s  name came into limelight as a friend in need. The worst catastrophe his motherland experienced in the first decade of 2000 was the tsunami. Then the horrific easter attack in 2018. The next devastation was the Covid 2019. Athula was instrumental in coordinating supports to Sri Lanka in all these tragedies. 

As for his dedication to the community work, being a professional in finance he used his expertise to improve the financial management as the treasure in the  iconic Sri Lankan Association of New Zealand. He had been a President there during 2014-2020. Still, he devotes his time as a vice president of it. He has been active in the Sri Lanka Buddhist Centre, now Dhamma Gaveshi Meditation Centre, Wainuiomata, Wellington, Community Languages Association of New Zealand, and the interpreting service to the Sri Lankan community. He has been a junior cricket coach and a senior umpire in Wellington region, a board member of the Wellington Umpires Association, a liaison officer between College Sport Wellington and the Association.

 ‘I am happy, delighted and honored by this award, given in recognition of my contribution to the community and cricket in New Zealand,’ Athula acknowledges the award bestowed upon him.

Sadun Sampath Kithulgoda 

From the day Sandun moved into New Zealand he was busy with serving his community. He has been an active member of the United Sri Laka Association (USLA) Wellington branch and became its President from 2013 to 2016. For 25 years Sandun has been the programme director of Lakhada, the popular radio station that creates fortnightly programmes connecting the Wellington Sri Lankan community. Also, he has been the event coordinator of the Sri Lankan Dance Academy for 20 years. His involvements in the Diwali cultural festival organised by the Wellington City Council, and the Sri Lankan float  of the Wellington Christmas parade for over 10 years  are some signs of his interest in serving a multi-cultural and multi-religious Sri Lankan Community in Wellington.  

Poruwa ceremonies in Sri Lankan weddings are by far the most sacred step at a Sri Lankan wedding.  The life-voyage of the newly married couple starts with their descending from the revered stage called Poruwa specially made for the occasion. It is the platform they, unknown to the complexities of the life, seek the blessing of their parents and relatives. It is the most sensitive moment with full of rituals, known only to someone special knowledge about the whole traditional Sri Lankan marriage ceremony process. Sadun provide this Poruwa service throughout New Zealand.

Also he worked as a member of the group of medical professionals who travelled to Sri Lanka to perform some of surgical procedures during the epidemic of 2019. He further helped organising a valuable surgical shipment to Sri Lanka from New Zealand.

The honour was awarded in appreciation of his service to the community. In acknowledging the honour Sandun shared his sentiments with his fellow team members saying that, ‘this award is a symbolic achievement not only for me but for everyone who has assisted me on my journey this far.’ 

It is interesting that Sadun, who lives with the New Zealand community over three decades still a sole Sri Lankan citizen.

We, Sri LankaNZ congratulate you all with extreme pleasure.

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