Two knights, three dames named

New Zealand has five new knights and dames, from left, Jane Harding, Derek Lardelli, Karen...
New Zealand has five new knights and dames, from left, Jane Harding, Derek Lardelli, Karen Poutasi, Robert Elliott and Aroha Reriti-Crofts. Photos: supplied
They’ve connected us to our culture, improved our health and helped our youngest and most vulnerable.

Five New Zealanders are our newest dames and knights, among 178 Kiwis whose contributions - across the arts, health, business, sport, science, technology, education and service to the community - have been acknowledged in today’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Among the highest-profile recipients are Oscar-winning film-maker Taika Waititi and former All Blacks captain Kieran Read, who have been made Officers of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM), while trail-blazing former MP Georgina Beyer was made a Member of the New Zealand Orderof Merit (MNZM).

All Black Kieran Read. Getty Images
All Black Kieran Read. Getty Images
But the highest honours among the 88 women and 90 men were reserved for five Kiwis whose collective efforts have improved the lives of thousands.

Among them was Gisborne-Turanganuia-Kiwa professor Derek Lardelli, best known as the composer of the All Blacks’ haka, Kapa O Pango, but also a tireless champion of Maori arts here and overseas.

Our second new knight is Auckland professor Robert Elliott for services to medical research. Sir Robert has been a pioneer and entrepreneur in life sciences for decades, including co-founding the foundation which would become Cure Kids, the largest funder of child health research outside the government.

Fellow Aucklander and health champion Distinguished Prof Jane Harding is one of three new dames for her work in neonatology and perinatology.

Dr Karen Poutasi, of Raumati Beach, is a dame for her services to education and the State, including 30 years in the health sector and, for more than a decade, as New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) chief executive, during which time both public confidence in the authority and school qualifications assessment performance increased.

Born in Ranfurly, Dr Poutasi studied at the University of Otago. Her management career began when she was appointed deputy medical superintendent at Dunedin Hospital.

Aroha Reriti-Crofts has also received our third-highest honour for services to Maoriand the community, encompassing almost two dozen member or leadership roles in a swathe of Canterbury organisations, trusts and groups, including stints as national and international president of the Maori Women’s Welfare League.

No-one was appointed a Member of the Order of New Zealand, our highest royal honour and only granted to 20 living New Zealanders at one time.

Twelve Kiwis were appointed to our fourth-highest honour, Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, including former police commissioner Mike Bush, horse racing titan David Ellis, authors Dr Tessa Duder and Elizabeth Knox, and International Olympic Committee stalwart Barry Maister.



Great to have these medical orientated people recognised, especially perhaps Poutasi - from a Ranfurly kid to a Dame - how wonderful.

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