30 Dec 2017

NZ author Joy Cowley heads New Year Honours list

11:31 am on 30 December 2017

New Zealand writer Joy Cowley has received the country's top honour in the 2018 New Year Honours list.

Writer Joy Cowley

81-year-old Joy Cowley received the country's top honour. Photo: Supplied / Weston Cowley

The 81-year-old heads the list of 179 New Zealanders named this year, and is the only person to be made a member of the Order of New Zealand.

The Order of New Zealand [ONZ] recognises outstanding service to the State and people of the country.

Ms Cowley, also known as (Mrs) Joy Coles, DCNZM, OBE, has been recognised once more for her work as a novelist, children's author and for her achievements in helping young people learn through reading.

There are also four new dames and three knights among those named in the honours list today. Rangimarie Naida Glavish, Annette King, Denise L'Estrange-Corbet and Georgina te Heuheu have been appointed Dame Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Herbert John Te Kauru Clarke, the Honourable Douglas White and Bryan Williams have been named as Knight Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Joy Cowley's contribution to literature and literacy was treasured in New Zealand and internationally.

"She has brought delight to many young New Zealanders, as well to those who read her books to them. Her work demonstrates the wonderful opportunity authors have to not only engage and inspire, but to educate."

Ms Ardern, who is also Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, said New Zealanders' expertise and love for the arts in Aotearoa was reflected in this year's list, with the number of honours awarded for arts and culture second only to contributions to community, voluntary and local services.

Ms Cowley said she was honoured to receive the award.

"This comes from New Zealand - it doesn't come from any other tradition and it doesn't have a title. Anything that separates me from other people, I don't feel comfortable with, and this is a 'belonging'."

Health Minister David Clark said Rangimarie Naida Glavish's commendation was a deserved acknowledgement for her tireless service to Māori and the community.

She said she would be Dame Rangimarie, which is the name her grandmother gave her.

In 1984, she was a toll operator facing reprimand for greeting incoming callers with 'kia ora'. She then moved into the health sector, championing appropriate cultural support for Māori and implementing best practice guidelines.

She is now the chief advisor tikanga Māori for the Waitematā and Auckland District Health Boards.

Dr Clark said Dame Rangimarie's work to secure cultural support for Māori patients had made a real difference to many people's lives.

Fashion designer Denise L'Estrange-Corbet wants to promote and champion New Zealand-made products. The co-founder of fashion house WORLD mentors up-and-coming designers and has been given the honour for her services to fashion and the community.

Dame Denise said she was most proud of the fact all of WORLD's designs were still New Zealand-made.

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Annette King delivering her valedictory speech to Parliament. Photo: VNP / Phil Smith

Ms Ardern acknowledged her mentor, colleague and friend, the Honourable Annette King, who has been appointed as a Dame Companion of The New Zealand Order of Merit.

"Annette's example as a Cabinet Minister, electorate MP and our longest-serving woman MP is one members across Parliament strive to emulate," Ms Ardern said.

Ms King said she was honoured to have been made a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, but she would not be referring to herself by her new title.

Ms King received the honour for her services as a member of parliament. She retired from politics this year.

Her most notable achievements as Minister of Health included the establishment of the current district health board system and the rebuild of hospitals from Kaitaia to Invercargill.

The Honourable Georgina te Heuheu was appointed a Companion of the Queen's Service Order in 1993 before becoming a Member of Parliament for five terms, retiring in 2011. She then took up the role of chair of Māori Television.

She was a Cabinet Minister in the fourth and fifth National governments, and was Associate Minister of Treaty Negotiations.

Dame Georgina was a Member of the Waitangi Tribunal for ten years.

Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio has welcomed the Pacific recipients named in the New Year's Honours, including Tuifa'asisina Bryan George Williams (CNZM, MBE), who has been appointed a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to rugby.

"Sir Bryan, whose father was Samoan and his mother a Rarotongan of Samoan descent, has been involved in rugby in New Zealand and Samoa since the 1960s. He was an idol for many Samoan rugby fans including myself during the 1970s and I know the Pacific community will be delighted with his Royal Honour.

Sir Bryan likes to think his knighthood is due to his work at grassroots rugby rather than having anything to do with being a former All Black, and he doesn't want people getting all formal around him now that he's been knighted.

The 67-year-old played for the All Blacks from 1970-1978 and provincial rugby for Auckland but it was his service to his club Ponsonby - where he's been a member since 1960 - and to grassroots rugby in general that he attributed the honour to.

Sir Bryan established a rugby academy at Mount Albert Grammar school and served as director until 2012. He is also a trustee of the New Zealand Rugby Foundation.

(Herbert) John Te Kauru Clarke has been made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand order of merit for his services to Māori and heritage preservation.

Since the mid 1990s he has played a role in almost 30 completed Treaty settlements around the country.

Sir John has been head of the Māori Heritage Council since 2013, cultural advisor to the Crown Law Office since 2003, and has continued as a cultural advisor with the Office of Treaty Settlements since 1997.

He became a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2011 and received the New Zealand Commemoration Medal in 1990 but said this honour had a different feeling about it.

Most of this year's commendations were in recognition of services to the community and local services, followed by arts and media and then services to the State.

Among the eight people to be made a Companion of the NZ Order or Merit is long-serving MP Peter Dunne. He held the Ōhāriu electorate in its various forms for 11 consecutive terms before his retirement ahead of the 2017 general election.

Peter Dunne announces he will resign at the 2017 election after 33 years in parliament.

Peter Dunne served 11 consecutive terms as a Member of Parliament. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

He said his advice on political longevity was given to him by Sir John Marshall when he first started in 1984. He said "be loyal to your electorate and it will be loyal to you".

Mr Dunne said a career highlight was when he helped bring together all the fire services into one national organisation earlier this year.

University lecturer Dr Manying Ip is another of the eight to have become a Companion of the New Zealand order of Merit for her services to the Chinese community, more than 20 years after she was first given an honour.

Dr Ip is well known for writing critically acclaimed books on Chinese people in New Zealand and said it was great she had been recognised for her continuous research and work in this field.

She said the country had become more diverse and accepting of people who do not look Pākehā or Māori.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage congratulated the outstanding New Zealand conservationists recognised. She said the seven people honoured received fitting recognition for their diverse range of service to the cause of conservation, often over the course of decades.

Ms Ardern said the long list of exceptional New Zealanders announced today was compiled and completed by the previous government.

See the full list of New Year Honours here.