1 Jun 2009

Knight, two dames in Queen's Birthday honours

5:48 pm on 1 June 2009

For the first time in almost a decade, a knight and two dames have been appointed in the Queen's Birthday honours.

The Government re-introduced the titles this year after they were dropped in 2000.

Former athlete John Walker, who is best remembered for winning the Olympic 1500m in 1976, has been made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit and will now be known as Sir John Walker.

In 1992, he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to athletics.

Off the track, he established the John Walker Find Your Field of Dreams Foundation in 2008, promoting sport to young people and has served as a Manukau City Councillor since 1998.

Sir John says his knighthood has come as a complete surprise, but hopes it will inspire more young people to take up sport and realise what they can achieve.

Art collector and philanthropist Jennifer Gibbs has been appointed a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to promoting New Zealand's arts internationally.

Dame Jennifer has been instrumental in a number of arts projects, including establishing a new gallery for the Auckland City Art Gallery and supporting New Zealand's participation at the Venice Biennale.

Iritana Tawhiwhirangi has also been made a Dame Companion for her services to Maori education. She has been prominent in the kohanga reo movement and was involved in reversing the decline of the Maori language.

Dame Iritana was the first Maori woman to be appointed as a district officer with the Department of Maori Affairs and became general manager of the Te Kohanga Reo National Trust Board in 1982.

In total, 172 New Zealanders were named in the 2009 Queen's Birthday honours list.

Companion of NZ Order of Merit

Former Commerce Commission chairperson Paula Rebstock, who has spent the past 20 years in the public service sector, has been appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the public.

Ms Rebstock served on the Commerce Commission for 11 years, during which time the commission became responsible for the regulation of a number of industries in the telecommunications, gas, electricity and dairy sectors.

John Todd, chairman of one of New Zealand's largest companies, the Todd Corporation, received a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to business and the community.

Mr Todd has served on the boards of a number of high-profile companies, such as Mitsubishi Motors New Zealand and AGC (NZ) Limited. He is a supporter of the arts and a founding trustee of the Arts Foundation.

Jeffrey Tallon and Alison Stewart have been made Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to science.

Dr Jeffrey Tallon, of Lower Hutt, has been a world-leading scientific researcher for more than 40 years. He is most notable for his research into high temperature superconductivity for which he won the Royal Society of New Zealand's Medal in 2002.

Professor Alison Stewart is a plant biologist specialising in disease management and microbial ecology at Lincoln University's Bio-Protection Centre.

Others to be made Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit are: Simon Murdoch, of Wellington, for public services, lately as Secretary of Foreign Affairs; Professor Peter Thorne, of Auckland, for services to auditory neuroscience; and

Saana Romana Murray, of Kaitaia, for services to the community.

Other honours

Rugby league World Cup-winning coach Stephen Kearney, sports broadcaster Murray Deaker and Robin Judkins, who founded the Coast to Coast multisport event, have been appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Also appointed Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit are Wellington College principal Roger Moses for services to education, and associate professor John Henley for services to medicine.

Musician Che Fu has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to music, while Paula Ryan has been recognised for her services to fashion.

Irene van Dyk was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to netball, while Dr Richard Isaacs was recognised for services to oncology.

Wellington City Councillor and former Test cricketer John Morrison has been named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to cricket and the community.

Mr Morrison has been involved with cricket as a player, coach, selector, administrator and commentator for more than 50 years and represented New Zealand in cricket between 1973 and 1983. He has been a councillor for the past 10 years.

A Royal New Zealand Navy Commander who served in the Arabian Gulf has been made an Additional Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for service to the New Zealand Defence Force.

Commander Blair Gerritsen joined the Navy from High School in 1988 and was appointed Commanding Officer of the Te Mana in 1997.

Queen's Service honours

New appointees to the Companions of the Queen's Service Order include Emeritus Professor Leslie Holborow for services to education and the community and Diana Robinson for services to the Child Cancer Foundation.

Ian Brackenbury, also known as the Wizard of New Zealand, has been awarded a Queen's Service Medal for his services to the community.