Congratulations to Mary-Jane Rivers – Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit


A stellar career spanning more than 50 years, Mary-Jane Rivers has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of individuals and communities both within Aotearoa and internationally. She has brought outstanding facilitative leadership, depth of analysis and practical wisdom to support many community-led initiatives.

Mary-Jane currently chairs REAP Aotearoa (the membership body representing the 13 REAPs in rural communities around Aotearoa.) She has been our chairperson since her appointment under a Te Tiriti o Waitangi partnership framework as the inaugural independent board member, Tangata Tiriti, in 2015.

Since joining the board Mary-Jane has led significant development and the evolution of REAP Aotearoa and the REAP collective throughout Aotearoa.
REAPs are a strong collective that works together to support their communities with fit-for-purpose and relevant initiatives, programmes and activities across all age groups; from early childhood education through to adult and community education.

Her guidance and support have seen significant changes across REAPs, with a specific focus on the development of REAPs as highly engaged community developers who take a human rights community-led development approach to support rural communities to achieve their goals.

Under Mary-Jane’s leadership, the REAP Aotearoa board has evolved and progressed; now with strong governance expertise and a clear vision for the future for the REAP collective and REAP Aotearoa, the organisation. She has an outstanding way of making things happen, turning vision into action through astute noticing of potential, facilitating shared insights and contributions to creating solutions, and persevering through challenges.
Her inclusive and collaborative approach has influenced the way REAPs engage; in their communities, with each other and with REAP Aotearoa.

Mary-Jane is a very deserving recipient of this award and we are proud to have her as part of our REAP whanau!