Italian Presidential honour for Oratia's Alessandra Zecchini
Italian President Sergio Mattarella has awarded Alessandra Zecchini, Media Director and co-founder of Oratia Media, the title of Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia for services to Italian culture and foreign relations.
Italian Ambassador Fabrizio Marcelli (right) awards the Cavaliere honour to Alessandra Zecchini on Sunday 28 October
The state honour — which translates as Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy — is bestowed on Italians and foreigners who have promoted relations between Italy and other countries. It also reflects on the promotion of Italian culture in the world.
His Excellency Fabrizio Marcelli, Italian Ambassador to New Zealand, awarded the honour on Sunday at the annual Festival Italiano street festival in Newmarket, Auckland.
Born in Milan and raised in the province of Modena, Alessandra Zecchini immigrated to New Zealand in 1997, settled in West Auckland and founded Oratia Media with husband Peter Dowling in 2000.
The insignia for the Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy
As a writer and editor Zecchini has helped direct the company over many years, and contributed to publication of a number of Italian books in New Zealand. She has herself produced numerous articles about Italian food, culture and travel, and authored three recipe books.
Zecchini has been widely active in the Italian community. She is a long-standing committee member and former President of the Società Dante Alighieri di Auckland, and a representative on the Com.It.Es Wellington. She has taught Italian language and culture at the Dante Society for over 20 years.
Since 2006 she has been Director of the annual Festival Italiano Auckland, which is the country’s largest Italian cultural event, and among Auckland’s busiest ethnic festivals.
She has promoted Italian cuisine widely, and founded the Slow Food Waitakere chapter, now Slow Food Auckland, the country’s most active group of the Italian-based food network.
Alessandra Zecchini, Media Director of Oratia Media
“I am greatly honoured to receive this recognition and thank all the wonderful Italian and New Zealand friends and family who have helped to make it all possible,” Zecchini said.
“The honour recognises the strong bonds between our countries, something we saw wonderfully at Sunday’s street festival.”