7 Jun 2010

'Mad Butcher' and Weta's Richard Taylor knighted

1:30 pm on 7 June 2010

Six new knights and a dame head the Queen's Birthday honours list, with knighthoods for former All Black coach Fred Allen, Weta Workshop founder Richard Taylor and "Mad Butcher" Peter Leitch.

Temuranga Batley-Jackson, better known as June Jackson, has been named a Dame of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Maori.

The other knights are a High Court judge, Justice John Williams, and two businessmen known for their community work, David Levene and Graeme Douglas.

Former Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons becomes a Companion of the Order of Merit, along with poet Sam Hunt and Jan Cameron, who established the outdoor clothing company Kathmandu.

Altogether, 172 people have been recognised in this year's list.

Responses of those newly honoured

  • Dame Temuranga Batley-Jackson, a former chief executive of the Manukau Urban Maori Authority and member of the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission, says that if she can become a dame, then other Maori women can too.
  • Sir Richard Taylor, who with his Weta team has won five Academy Awards and four Baftas for his work on the films The Lord of the Rings and King Kong, says the thing he is most proud of in his professional life is creating local employment opportunities.
  • Sir Fred Allen, who captained the All Blacks in six tests between 1946 and 1949, and coached the All Blacks during a 14-test unbeaten run from 1966 to 1968, says the knighthood's a great honour but he doesn't expect anyone to treat him differently.
  • Sir Peter Leitch says the charity work that's been recognised by his knighthood has been a team effort, because a lot of people helped him along the way. His honour, he says, is recognition for the country's working class.
  • Sir John Williams, who was appointed president of the Electoral Commission in 2009, says he is pleased to share the honour with his wife, Joy Williams, who he says has given him sterling support over many years.
  • Sir David Levene, founder of the Levene paint company, has sponsored projects at Auckland University. He says he is humbled by the knighthood but will struggle with the title, because he's used to just being called by his first name.
  • Sir Graeme Douglas, who founded Douglas Pharmaceuticals and is recognised for supporting coaching programmes for young athletes and giving lifesaving equipment to Starship Hospital, says he and his wife have always tried to contribute to the community.
    • Medals for longtime RNZ staffers

      Two longtime staff members at Radio New Zealand have both been awarded Queen's Service Medals.

      Jack Perkins has been involved with public radio for more than 50 years. He co-founding the Spectrum documentary series in 1972 and won an international award last year for his three-hour series on Sir Edmund Hillary.

      Mike Gourley has spent more than 20 years advocating for disabled people through a number of professional positions, including in his role as a producer at Radio New Zealand.