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Albert Wendt 'very flattered' over New Zealand's top honour

Published: 5:37AM Monday June 03, 2013 Source: ONE News

One of Pacific literature's most influential figures says he is "very flattered" to have been given the highest honour in the Queen's Birthday Honours announced today.

Emeritus professor of English, Albert Wendt, joins the elite club of just 20 living New Zealanders to be appointed a Member of the Order of New Zealand (ONZ).

He received the honour for his services to the country.

"This is my country saying to me "we've appreciated your work over the years and we want to give you this honour"," he told ONE News.

Wendt said he he was "very happy" to be appointed a Member of ONZ.

"I am happy because those are the people I owe this award to," he said.

"Without the love and support of my family and my friends and my former students and the reading public I wouldn't be receiving this award."

Lockwood Smith, Gordon Tietjens honoured

Among four knighthoods awarded is Lockwood Smith, the former Speaker of Parliament who is now High Commissioner in London.

He said he felt "truly honoured and very special" to have received his knighthood, which was awarded for his services to Parliament.

He joins New Zealand Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens, who has also been made a Sir for his services to rugby.

Tietjens said he was "shocked".  He said his knighthood was "quite humbling" and he was very, very honoured.

Supreme Court Judge, Justice Robert Chambers, has been appointed a knighthood posthumously following his sudden death two weeks ago. Approval for the appointment had already been received from the Queen before his death.

His wife Deborah said it was "of some comfort" that Sir Robert knew of the honour before his death.

"I am grateful to the Prime Minister and the Governor-General for arranging for Rob's honour to be backdated to 20 May 2012. It was lovely to be able to recognise the knighthood at his funeral," she said.

"Like other judges he achieved his position of Supreme Court judge as a result of years of dedicated public service to New Zealanders. He was delighted to receive the public affirmation that a knighthood represents.

"Our family is very proud of Rob, and Rob was very proud to serve New Zealand."

Maori activist Nganeko Minhinnick, has been made a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for her services to Maori and conservation.

Dame Minhinnick is the Kaitiaki of Ngati Te Ata, acting as the key iwi contact, and is Secretary of Tahuna Marae Trustees. She is known for her tireless efforts across multiple conservation and public health campaigns.

All Black legend, TVNZ reporter recognised

This year's extensive list contains 179 New Zealanders, 125 of them men and 54 women.

Former All Black Bryan Williams, who already has an MBE, has been made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for his services to rugby.

John McDermott, a ONE News journalist for more than 44 years, has been awarded The Queen's Service Medal (QSM), for his services to reporting. McDermott covered more than 3000 news stories, mostly for the Otago and Southland regions, during his time as a reporter with TVNZ.

"Mr McDermott is regarded for his accurate, fair and balanced journalistic style," the Cabinet Office said.

This year's honours list also includes two Antarctic medals, the first of such awards since the 2010 New Year's Honours. They went to professor Thomas Green and Baden Norris, for their services to Antarctic science and history.

Also of note are husband and wife team, Ian and Raewyn McLaren, who have been awarded QSMs for their services to foster care.

The Wellington couple have fostered 82 new-born babies, most of which were born premature or suffered health problems such as drug addiction or foetal alcohol syndrome, for Child, Youth and Family since 2001. They are also long serving members of The Salvation Army.

 

See the full list

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