News Story

Two Latter-day Saints Receive 'Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit' Recognition

Two members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were recently awarded “Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit” recognition, part of the Queen’s New Zealand State Honours New Years list. 

Kerry Louise Owen and Laurie Tamati Ngarue Sadler (Laurie Wharemate-Keung) were recognised for their services to children. 

Owen founded the charity Feed the Need in 2012 to provide lunches to disadvantaged schoolchildren. Wharemate-Keung is the General Manager of the charity.

The New Zealand Order of Merit was instituted in 1996, and awards are presented for meritorious service to the Crown or the nation to those who have become distinguished in their particular field of endeavour. All New Zealand State Honours are instituted under a Royal Warrant signed by Queen Elizabeth II.

Since founding Feed the Need, Owen has been instrumental in delivering hot fresh lunches to schools during the winter months. In 2017 the charity delivered more than 90,000 meals.

Feed the Need has also initiated a work placement programme providing students with paid employment, which has helped these youth gain confidence and transferable skills.

Owen and Wharemate-Keung are now introducing a new approach to the organisation, introducing a "food pantry program" to targeted schools. The program includes emergency packs and weekend packs, with the intent to also supply whanau packs and hygiene kits.


Wharemate-Keung has helped develop the charity's hot lunches to children program and the youth work placement initiative. The charity provides around 1,500 daily meals to children in two Otara and five Manurewa schools during winter, with further expansion in progress. 

Serving those in need is a primary focus of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Members of the Church work to follow the example of Jesus Christ in reaching out to those who could use an extra helping hand. 

In addition to the Church's large scale humanitarian aid programs, individual members, like Owen and Wharemate-Keung, often serve where they see a need in their respective communities.

These efforts are supplemented by the Church's self-reliance resources and classes which enable individuals to increase their personal and family self sufficiency.

Additional Resources

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