4 Jun 2018

John Rowles dedicates knighthood to family

9:46 am on 4 June 2018

New Zealand showbiz veteran John Rowles says he'll carry his knighthood with a lot of pride.

John Rowles

John Rowles Photo: Facebook / John Rowles

Sir John Rowles has been appointed a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to entertainment in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

"I think it's just a wonderful thing to have at my age and point in my career," Sir John said.

"It's something I can carry with a lot of pride on my shoulders through everything that I've achieved in the world - from Kawerau to New York."

The crooner comes from the Bay of Plenty board mill town of Kawerau and left school when his was 15-years-old.

As a teenager Sir John was inspired by the Shadows and its lead guitarist Hank Marvin.

He graduated from the local show band scene to Australia where he was discovered by UK singer Cliff Richard's manager at the time, Peter Gornely.

In the 1960s and 1970s he rose to international prominence off the back of hits such as If I Only Had Time and Cheryl Moana Marie.

He spent years performing in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Hawaii and shared the stage with stars such as Elvis Presley and Tom Jones.

He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1979 for services to the music industry.

Sir John returned to New Zealand from Australia this weekend to celebrate receiving the honour.

He dedicated it to his family including his sister Cheryl Waetford - who was the inspiration for the song Cheryl Moana Marie.

"On behalf of my father, my mother, my family and especially to my brother Edward who passed on at eight years of age and I never got to know him - I adopted his middle name."

Sir John, currently lives in Australia, to be closer to his two sons Dane and Blake.

And he said he hoped his career and journey which took him around the world - could provide inspiration to other young people.

"Hopefully it's a good example to the young people that are up and coming to keep on the straight and narrow and keep trying to work hard."