Two well-known members of New Zealand’s Jewish community received appointments from Queen Elizabeth II to the nation’s annual New Year’s Honours list.
John Barnett was awarded the Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, having been previously awarded the Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Barnett, of Auckland, was recognized for his services to film and television.
Barnett told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the honor is “an affirmation of the growth and importance of a New Zealand screen industry, telling stories about us, for us, and opening up these stories to the rest of the world.” He added that his Jewish heritage is “a strong factor in the selection and presentation of a number of the stories I’ve been involved in.”
Bob Nerev, a German-Jewish Holocaust survivor who is fighting what he sees as a declining and often absent knowledge about the horrors of the Nazi regime, was honored as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to the community and education. In 1999, he was named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1999.
The former Auckland lawyer and his wife, Freda, who is also a Holocaust survivor, have been educators for the Wellington-based Holocaust Centre of New Zealand for 17 years. They have used their Holocaust experiences to teach thousands of New Zealand students and adult groups about the dangers of racism, prejudice and bigotry and the importance of respecting people of all races and religions.