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Te Tohu Amorangi a Te Kawa Mataaho | The Public Service Commissioner’s Commendation for Frontline Excellence – Bella Tarawhiti

Nei rā te mihi o Te Rōpū Whakahau ki a Whaea Bella, ko ia hoki te whakatinana o te wairua whakarato. Wehi nā Bella, me he tē!

TeRōpū Whakahau extend their acknowledgements to Whaea Bella who is the embodiment of spirit of service. Awesome recognition Bella, like a boss!

Bella has dedicated her working life to the public sector; starting with her first role at the Department of Health, a stint at Tourism and Māori Affairs followed until she found her home at the National Library. For more than 30 years, Bella has been the friendly face that has welcomed thousands of visitors to the Library helping open their eyes and hearts to the riches kept within.

It’s the people that Bella works with and those she feels privileged to welcome every day that keeps her coming back year after year. 

To use Bella’s words from the recent Kia Ora magazine article “In Māori, we say, ‘He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. What is important in this world? It is people.’

Below is Bella’s citation:

Mrs Bella Perahurihuri Tarawhiti, Kaiārahi, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, Te Tari Taiwhenua

Neke atu i te toru tekau tau a Bella e mahi ana hei kaiārahi i Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa. Ahakoa ngā rā he tika kia warewaretia, pērā i te taenga mai o te Kīngi o Tonga rāua ko tana hoa rangatira, kāore e rerekē ngā mana nui ki ngā tāngata katoa. Mō Bella, ko te mea nui ko te whakarato i te tangata takitahi.

Ki a Bella ko te kohinga Māori te tino wāhanga o te Puna Mātauranga, ā, ahakoa kua pau te 31 tau ōna kia mōhio ki taua kohinga kei te ako tonu ia, kei te whakapono a Bella he rite te mātauranga ki te whakapapa, he mea mutunga kore. Ko te mātauranga anō tētahi o ngā take kua noho tonu ia ki te Puna Mātauranga, ā, kia kuia rā anō, heoi ka puta tonu ia ki te mahi i ia ata. Ko tētahi atu take ko te whai wāhi ki te mahi i taha o ōna hoamahi me hunga ka whakamanuhiritia e ia i ia rā. Nā tō Bella ngākaunui ki te tuku ratonga hiranga nei ki te manuhiri ahakoa ko wai, nō hea, he tika ia mō tēnei Tohu Amorangi.

Mrs Bella Perahurihuri Tarawhiti, Front of House Coordinator Kaiārahi – National Library of New Zealand, Department of Internal Affairs

Bella has been a kaiārahi at the National Library for more than three decades. While there were unforgettable days, such as a visit from the King of Tonga and his wife, she insists high-profile guests are treated no differently from anyone else. For Bella, delivering the service to the individual is the most important thing.

The Māori collection is her favourite part of the National Library and, even after 31 years spent getting to know it, she says she is still learning. Bella believes that like genealogy, knowledge is never ending. That knowledge is one of the two reasons she has stayed at the Library into her late 70s, happily reporting for duty at the front desk each morning. The other reason comes back to the people she works with and those she feels privileged to welcome every day. Bella’s commitment to delivering an exceptional service to all visitors, regardless of background or status, makes her deserving of this commendation.

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