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Former Children's Commissioner Ian Hassall has been praised by MPs after he received a United Nations award recognising his dedication to improving child welfare.
Dr Hassall, New Zealand's first Children's Commissioner and currently a research associate at the Institute of Public Policy at Auckland University of Technology, received the UN Children's Fund (Unicef) Aldo Farina Award in Seoul in Korea at the weekend.
Dr Hassall has been a long-time advocate of children's rights, having been at the forefront of many initiatives here designed to improve their welfare.
"This prestigious award recognises the extraordinary job Ian has performed on behalf of our children over many years," Labour deputy leader Annette King said today.
Ms King said Dr Hassall had many achievements to his name and contributed to the development of the 1989 Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act.
Minister responsible for Whanau Ora, Tariana Turia, said the award, which was open to recipients from 194 countries, was an "astounding tribute".
"I'm sure if this was in the sporting arena, the gold medal for the children's hero would be creating front page news," Mrs Turia said.
She said Dr Hassall had put Aotearoa on the world map through his work.
"I want to put on record, my great appreciation and congratulations to Dr Hassall for his investment in children as the foundation of our future."