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Connie Lawn gets a gong (and beats the drum for NZ)

Connie Lawn gets a gong (and beats the drum for NZ)

Connie Lawn in a media scrum during Helen Clark's 2007 visit to DC

Like many Kiwis my age, I grew up hearing Connie Lawn’s reports from Washington on Radio New Zealand. She has covered every US Administration since Lyndon Johnson’s time, and is the longest-serving correspondent in the White House Press Corps. In 2006 Connie was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the NZ National Press Association.

This 2006 article on captures the essence of why it’s not just for her radio reporting that Connie Lawn was recognized in the 2012 Honours list for her “services to New Zealand – United States relations”. (During her 2006 visit, Connie was also made an Honorary Life Member of the New Zealand American Association.)

On reading of Connie being made an Honorary Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, I emailed her with a few questions about how significant the award was to her, and whether there’d be celebration and ceremony involved at some later date. Here is her reply.

I am very gratified to receive an honorary Honour from the country and the people I love so much. To me it symbolizes my intense loyalty to NZ, which I have had for over 40 years. I will continue to let the world know the good things about NZ, as I can. I am also very sad about the earthquakes and oil spill - NZ did not deserve this.

There will be an investiture ceremony in the future. If I have a choice, I would choose the NZ Embassy in Washington. That way I can invite my family and close friends. I may follow up with a party, but it would be a fundraiser for Christchurch. I do hope to make a ninth trip to NZ; perhaps in August. But I am fighting the ravages of Parkinson's disease and a broken hip. Hope I can still return to my beloved ski fields!

In any case, thank you again and Happy New Year. I hope “the world will soon be a better place” for “the times they are a changing.”

For information about the New Zealand Honours system, and the Order of Merit in particular, go here:

Besides her continuing work for the USA Radio Network and freelance reporting for radio and TV around the world, Connie has a blog on Huffington Post here, and—of course—is a regular contributor to Scoop.



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