PoliticsJune 5, 2023

All the big King’s Birthday gongs, in 10 deep breaths


A great day for honours winners and people who love seeing honours listed and also for the King, who has a birthday but stays the same age.

Gong! It’s the King’s Birthday – not to be confused with the King’s birthday, which is on November 14 – and that means the King’s Birthday honours. They’re just like the Queen’s Birthday honours except slightly less good. This year, they also amount to Coronation honours, which is excellent news for those who enjoy many honours.

The big gongs are listed below. All winners are asked to collect their prize from King’s Plant Barn by 6pm today.

Additional appointment to The Order of New Zealand

Her Majesty The Queen Camilla wins this one. Congratulations Camilla! For services to New Zealand, obviously; by happy coincidence she is also the queen.

Dame Grand Companion of the Order of NZ

Jacinda Ardern, for services to the state. The former prime minister said she was in two minds about taking the gong given everything she achieved was really the work of thousands of other who, etc. Pretty much everyone else said something similar, shoulders of giants and so on, so take that as read. You can read the only article published about Ardern’s departure from politics and her career here.

(The “grand” bit is a club reserved to a maximum of 30 living people. which does create some potentially perverse incentives.)

Dames Companion of the Order of NZ

Not grand, but still very good, are new dames Jo Brosnahan, the founder and long serving chair of Pūmanawa Kaiārahi / Leadership New Zealand, for services to governance and business; Teuila Percival, founding member and deputy chair of South Seas Healthcare, for services to health and the Pacific community; and Helene Quilter, a big arts supporter who recently wound up 45 years in the public service as Deputy Public Service Commissioner, for services to the public service and the arts.

Knights Companion of the Order of NZ

Aka the sirs. Supreme Court judge Stephen Kós gets a gong for services to the judiciary and legal education. Selwyn Parata (Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tahu), who among other things has been chair of Te Matatini since 2008, gets a gong for services to Māori. And Wayne Smith, a rugby legend who coached the Black Ferns to world cup glory, gets a gong for – wait for it – services to rugby, though the biggest gong of all the gongs, awarded by their majesties The Spinoff, very obviously goes to The Hand.

Companions of the Order of NZ

We’d ask everyone for quiet at this point, mains will be served after we rattle through the CNZM gongees. Congratulations to Rodney Bracefield, of Porirua, for services to Search and Rescue and aviation, and to Alison Cree of Dunedin, for services to herpetology, particularly tuatara, and also for the quiz team name Herpetology, Particularly Tuatara. Well done Lianne Dalziel, of Christchurch, for completing the minister-mayor double.

Nigel French, of Palmerston North: a lovely CNZM for you for services to epidemiology, and another for Deborah Gilbertson of Lower Hutt, for services to business, science and technology. Karen Grylls, of Auckland, come on up, you’re recognised for services to choral music. Colin James of Auckland! For services to journalism and public policy, but especially for remembering details of elections 50 years agoMurray McPhail, of Gisborne, for services to horticulture. Samuel Prime, of Kawakawa, for services to Māori, the environment and health.

Ralph Sims, of Palmerston North, for services to sustainable energy research and insights on frightening things. Ruth Spearing, of Christchurch, for services to haematology. Brian Wickham, of Hamilton, for services to the dairy industry and statistical genetics, and Richard Wong She, of Auckland, for services to burn care.

Officers of the Order of NZ

Thank you for your patience. Please hold your applause and we’ll give this group of tremendous ONZM-ers a big ovation at the end.

Gong! Michael Absolum, of Auckland, for services to education. Gong! Catherine Andrew, of Christchurch, for services to nursing education. Gong! Rodney Baxter, of Wellington, for services to youth. Congratulations to Nicholas Billowes, from the foot of the Remutakas, in Upper Hutt, for services to education. And to Owen Bosson, of Tuakau, at the foot of the Bombays, for services to thoroughbred racing.

Karl Chitham, of Wellington, come on up. You’re recognised for services to the arts, particularly Māori art. Philip Clarke, of Auckland, your gong is for services to arts governance. Well done Rochelle Constantine, of Auckland, for services to wildlife conservation and marine biology (and also for helping us authenticate that weird octopus-seal-kayak thing). Ka pai, Florence Cowan, of Auckland, for services to midwifery, Ria Earp, of Wellington, for services to health, and Will Edwards, of Hāwera, for services to Māori health.

Peter Flanagan, of Wellington, an ONZM for you for services to blood transfusion. Nicky Hager!? There he is, the indomitable truth-seeker from Wellington, for services to investigative journalism. According to one high-level source (Rawshark) Hager is not now a committed stooge of the state, and was mostly awarded the gong for this Spinoff interview from 2015.

Tally gong! Doug Hood, of Auckland, for services to the music industry. Colin Jones, of Auckland, for services to the dairy industry. Give it up for Shirley Jülich, representing Whitianga, for services to restorative justice and survivors of sexual abuse. Michael Klaassen, of Auckland, for services to plastic and reconstructive surgery. Matekino Lawless, of Rotorua, for services to Māori art. Andrew Leslie, of Lower Hutt, for services to sport and the community. Chris Maclean, of the coastal hamlet Waikanae, for services to conservation and publishing.

Who else? There’s Materoa Mar, of Palmerston North, for services to Māori and Pacific health; there’s Sandra Morris, of Whanganui, for services as an illustrator and to education; and not to forget Sunita Narayan, of Wellington, for services to language education and the Indian community. Put your coronation hands together for Wayne Norrie, of Napier, for services to business and governance; for Deborah Panckhurst, of Wellington, for services to foreign affairs and Māori, for Alison Rich, of Dunedin, for services to oral pathology; and for Jack Rikihana, of Wellington, for services to Māori, health governance and the community.

Come get your gong, Shae Ronald, Youthline CEO of Auckland, for services to youth. And you, Bruce Russell of Tauranga, for services to the New Zealand Police and the community. Congratulations James Schuster, of Rotorua, you’re honoured for services to Māori arts and heritage preservation; as are you, Nua Silipa, of Auckland, for services to Pacific education. Suzanne Sutherland, of Christchurch, gets a worthy gong for services to library and information services. John Taylor, of the coastal hamlet Paraparaumu, is honoured for services to disabled people. Peter Taylor, of Renwick, your MZNM is for services to business.

Let’s hear it for Lynette Tippett, of Auckland, for services to neuropsychology and people with dementia, For David Towns, of Auckland, for services to conservation. And for Christopher Wearing, of Auckland, for services to entomology and the fruit and orchard industries. Ka rawe! A gong for Te Maari Anahera Whare, of Rotorua, for services to Māori language education. And one for you, Paul Williams, of Auckland, for services to geoscience and environmental science, and contribution to Taskmaster, wait, no, not that Paul Williams, apologies to both. Last alphabetically, but not in the eyes of Charles III, who loves us all equally, is Steven Wyn-Harris, of Waipukurau, honoured for services to the farming industry and rural communities. Well done.

That’s enough. To read the full, complete, unexpurgated list, go here.

Keep going!