31 Dec 2008

New Year Honours List

3:11 pm on 31 December 2008

A total of 192 New Zealanders have been recognised for their contributions to society in the New Year Honours List.

Recipients include artists, scientists, historians, a magician and a country musician.

The highest honour has gone to a stalwart campaigner for the rights of Maori.

Professor Ngatata Love is made a Principal Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to Maori, particularly in the area of Treaty settlements.

Professor Love says it is an honour to receive the recognition. He says a lot has been achieved by the Maori community and now it needs to look towards the future.

He told Summer Report the achievement of Treaty settlements is a great step forward for New Zealand.

Four people have been appointed as Distinguished Companions of the Order of Merit. They are:

Professor David Skegg for his work on breast and cervical cancer and reproductive health;

John Wells, chairman of Sport and Recreation New Zealand;

Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Margaret Wilson; and

Claudia Orange, a New Zealand and Pacific historian.

Other awards

Jane Hunter, owner of Hunter's Wines in Marlborough, receives the award of Companion of the Order.

She says she hopes the recognition will show young women wanting to get started in the viticulture industry just how successful they can be.

Police officers and military personnel have also been honoured:

Nick Perry, who headed Operation Austin, an investigation into sexual abuse by former and serving police officers in the 1980s and 1990s, is made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Lieutenant Colonel Chris Mullane, a retired Vietnem veteran, is made an Officer of the Order for his services to fellow soldiers. He was instrumental in ensuring the health problems and lack of support for veterans were recognised.

Some of New Zealand's top athletes are also made Members of the Order of Merit.

Olympic gold medallists, shotputter Valerie Vili and board sailor Tom Ashley, are honoured, along with fellow Olympians, rowers Mahe Drysdale, Nathan Twaddle and George Bridgewater, and cyclist Hayden Roulston.

Olympic chef de mission Dave Currie is also on the list, alongside Paralympic champions Sophie Pascoe, 15, and Paula Tesoriero.

Olympic 1500-metre bronze medallist Nick Willis has also been made a Member, which he admits was a little surprising.

Contributions to the arts

People involved in the arts have also received recognition for the impact they have made.

Award-winning cinematographer Michael Seresin, who worked on the films Sleeping Dogs, Midnight Express and Angela's Ashes, has been appointed as an Officer of the Order.

Comedian and actor Oscar Kightley has been made a Member. He says it is great to see theatre and television being considered as contributing to society, and Pacific Islanders being part of that.

Also within the arts: a country music entertainer who plays the banjo, Jeanette Blackadder, has been made a Member, along with a Christchurch magician, Greg Britt, or Elgregoe, who tours an anti-bullying show to about 350 schools a year.

No appointment

The ultimate honour is the Order of New Zealand, limited to 20 living members, but no appointment was made this year.

The next honours will be awarded at Queen's Birthday weekend in 2009.