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Honours recognise work that addresses climate change

The Minister for Climate Change congratulates recipients in the 2019 New Year’s Honours whose work is helping Aotearoa New Zealand understand and address climate change.

James Shaw has extended his congratulations to Sir Stephen Tindall, now a Knight Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to business, the community, and the environment.

“Sir Stephen gives valuable leadership in support of climate change action and environmental work with his philanthropic organisations providing millions of dollars to help develop clean tech and environmental solutions.

“I also want to pay tribute to Sharon Torstonson, as Executive Officer of the Social Equity and Wellbeing Network (SEWN) for the past 19 years, who is now a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

“Her work, and that of her SEWN team, began in the aftermath of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake but has come to include raising awareness about the need for support organisations to be more involved in disaster resilience and responses to climate change.

“Through SEWN, Sharon works with the South Island Public Health Alliance’s Hauora Alliance project and the Deep South National Science Challenge to explore the impact of climate change on vulnerable communities.

“I also offer my congratulations to internationally recognised conservationist, Kerry-Jayne Wilson, for her honour as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to seabird conservation.

“Kerry-Jayne’s more than 40 years of study, teaching and voluntary work, which has included working with seabird scientists in Antarctica, Europe and Australia, has helped advance research and understanding of threats such as climate change.



“Another climate change champion I want to congratulate is Professor Pat Langhorne, who has been awarded the New Zealand Antarctic Medal.

“Professor Langhorne is New Zealand’s foremost sea-ice expert.

“Her key research more than 30 years ago to examine the strength of sea ice showed sea ice runways could be used for large aircraft, providing vital access that’s enabled New Zealand’s Antarctic operations.

“Pat Langhorne is part of a highly skilled and dedicated team of New Zealand scientists working in Antarctica who provide vital research to increase our understanding about climate change and its likely impacts on human existence.

“In 2015, Professor Langhorne took up leadership of the sea ice observation aspect of the Deep South National Science Challenges programme, which seeks to determine what effects high latitude climate impacts might have on New Zealand.

“While the leadership, work, and commitment of Sir Stephen, Sharon, Kerry-Jayne and Pat is being celebrated in these New Year’s Honours, I know they would be the first to say that so many New Zealanders deserve recognition for the work they do, in their own ways, to raise awareness about climate change and what we can do to address it,” says James Shaw.


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