Sir John Walker
Athletics great John Walker is New Zealand's first knight
under the new royal warrant that restores knighthoods in the
Queen's Birthday honours after a nine-year absence.
Sir John, who won 1500m gold at the Montreal Olympics, is
appointed a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of
Merit (KNZM) in today's honours which include two new dames
-- art patron Jenny Gibbs and educationalist Iritana
The Government announced in March that titles, dropped by the
Labour government in 2000, would be reinstated to the honours
system and 85 New Zealanders who have been appointed
Principal and Distinguished Companions could opt to become
knights or dames by the end of June.
Sir John, previously honoured as Commander of the Order of
the British Empire in 1992, is honoured for services to sport
and the community.
After an athletics career that included being the first
person to break 3 minutes 50 seconds for the mile and to run
more than 100 sub-four minute miles, he was diagnosed with
parkinson's disease in the early 1990s.
But he has continued to be involved with sport and the
community, serving on Manukau City Council since 1998. Last
year he established the Find Your Field of Dreams Project in
Manukau to help young people participate in sport.
Dame Jenny is appointed a Dame Companion of the New Zealand
Order of Merit (DNZM) for services to the arts. The public
profile of the philanthropist and art collector was raised in
1997 when she negotiated with artists Tame Iti and Te Kaha
for the return of a Colin McCahon painting stolen from the
Aniwaniwa conservation centre at Lake Waikaremoana.
Dame Iritana, a founder of the kohanga reo movement, is
appointed a DNZM for services to Maori education. In a career
that began as a teacher on the East Coast in 1948, she has
played a major role in reversing the decline in Maori
Among many other Maori recognised in the honours, leading
Ngati Kuri figure Hana Romana Murray has been made a
Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM).
She is the only living claimant in the Waitangi Tribunal
Claim 262, in which Maori have asked the Waitangi Tribunal
for exclusive and comprehensive rights to indigenous flora
and fauna, as well as all Maori cultural knowledge, customs
and practices, including language.
Also appointed CNZM are retiring secretary of foreign affairs
and trade Simon Murdoch, recently retired Commerce Commission
chairwoman Paula Rebstock, Lincoln University biologist
Professor Alison Stewart, research scientist Dr Jeff Tallon,
auditory neuroscientist Professor Peter Rowland and Todd
Corporation chairman John Todd.
Sports people honoured include Kiwis league coach Stephen
Kearney and Coast to Coast race organiser Robin Judkins, both
made Officers of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM).
The world's most capped netballer, Irene van Dyk, and two
former Silver Ferns Belinda Charteris and Margaret Foster,
are made Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM), as
are former New Zealand cricketer John Morrison and Laurie
Keats, who developed shearing as a competitive sport and
instigated the first Golden Shears competition.
Sports broadcaster Murray Deaker is appointed an ONZM.