5 Jun 2023

King's Birthday Honours: Queen Camilla and former PM receive highest honours

6:28 am on 5 June 2023
Queen Camilla and former prime minister Jacinda Ardern.

Queen Camilla and former PM Jacinda Ardern received the highest honours. Photo: AFP / RNZ

More than 180 Kiwis have received honours this King's Birthday, with Queen Camilla receiving the highest honour, being made an Additional Member of The Order of New Zealand.

Former prime minister Jacinda Ardern has been made a Dame Grand Companion of The New Zealand Order of Merit while three other women have received Damehoods and three men have received Knighthoods.

They are Jo Brosnahan QSO, Dr Teuila Percival QSO, Helene Quilter QSO, Justice John Stephen Kós KC, Selwyn Parata and Wayne Smith CNZM.

Other honours include Companions of The New Zealand Order of Merit, Officers of The New Zealand Order of Merit, Honorary Officers of The New Zealand Order of Merit, Members of The New Zealand Order of Merit, Honorary Members of The New Zealand Order of Merit, and Queen's Service Medals.

Three New Zealand Defence Force staff have been honoured The New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration.

They are Group Captain Glenn Gowthorpe, Squadron Leader George McInnes and Lieutenant Colonel Vanessa Ropitini.

Composite image with Glenn Gowthorpe, George McInnes and Vanessa Ropitini.

Group Captain Glenn Gowthorpe, Squadron Leader George McInnes and Lieutenant Colonel Vanessa Ropitini. Photo: NZDF / RNZ

Gowthorpe received his medal for commanding the NZDF's Operation Protect task force during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement, he said the recognition reflected the work achieved by the whole NZDF team.

McIness received his honour for helping save the lives of three people from floodwaters in Canterbury in May 2021.

Receiving it was humbling and not something he expected.

Ropitini's time working as the Logistic Task Group Commander in Germany to support the response to Russia's invasion on Ukraine is the reason she has been honoured.

It had come as a surprise, saying it was an honour that "happens to other people".

Of the 182 King's Birthday and Coronation Honours recipients, 94 are women and 88 are men.

Areas of contribution include arts and media, business and the economy, community, voluntary and local services, education, health, science and technology, services to the state, and sport and recreation.

The majority of recipients received their honours for their contribution to community, voluntary and local services.

In a statement, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said the strength and diversity of service within New Zealand stood out in today's list of recipients.

PM Chris Hipkins

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

"Each of today's 182 recipients has contributed individually to our country. Viewed collectively, their efforts reflect an overwhelming commitment to service." Chris Hipkins said.

"I also want to recognise that it's special to be releasing this list so soon after the coronation of the new King, and to be able to celebrate recipients on the King's Birthday public holiday."

Hipkins confirmed the Queen's Service Order and Queen's Service Medal will be renamed for King Charles in time.

"Transitional matters currently being worked through include the Royal Warrant governing the Order needing to be updated and approved by the King, and revised insignia designed and manufactured for presentation at future investiture ceremonies," Hipkins said.

"That means this weekend New Zealand will again recognise a number of thoroughly deserving recipients of QSOs and QSMs in its Honours List.

"Similar appointments are expected to be made in the New Year Honours List 2024. The first honours using the KSO and KSM titles are likely to be announced as part of the King's Birthday Honours 2024."

Hipkins said Queen Camilla's appointment to the Order of New Zealand was in keeping with tradition, as Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh received similar honours while supporting previous monarchs.

"On behalf of all New Zealanders, I thank the 182 Kiwis recognised today. I thank them for their service, and I'm delighted to congratulate them all."

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