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New Year Honours: Sporting greats among knights and dames

Six new knights and dames, including Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua and economist Professor Dame Marilyn Waring, have been created in today's New Year's Honours List.

Among those recognised on the Honours list: Steve Hansen, former All Black coach; Noeline Taurua, Silver Ferns coach; Parris Goebel, choreographer; Joe Williams, the first Māori judge of the Supreme Court; Sue Kedgley, feminist and former Greens politician; Robert Martin, disabilities advocate; Karyn Hay, broadcaster and writer; Dr Anna Crighton, heritage advocate and Steve Tew, the former chief executive of New Zealand Rugby. Photo: RNZ

The list of 180 recipients - 91 women and 89 men - leans heavily on awards for community service, arts and the media, health and sport.

Among the top honours recipients are Justice Joe Williams, the first Maori judge of the Supreme Court, former All Black coach Steve Hansen and disabilities advocate Robert Martin, who is believed to be the first New Zealand knight with learning disabilities. The three become Knight Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Dames Noeline and Marilyn are joined by Dr Anna Crighton, who is honoured for services to heritage preservation, as Dame Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Others honoured include globally recognised choreographer Parris Goebel, Radio New Zealand broadcaster and writer Karyn Hay and feminist and former Greens politician Sue Kedgley.

Statistical breakdown

This year, the honours organisers have released a statistical breakdown of awards, showing Auckland (52 recipients) and Wellington (38) are the largest centres but the East Cape and West Coast, with three awards each are represented. Among them is Grey District's former mayor Tony Kokshoorn, who was the region's longest-serving mayor of 15 years and led the area through the Pike River Mine disaster and Spring Creek Mine closure. He is appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Dame Noeline Taurua says she sees her appointment as a Dame Companion as a motivation to do more for netball and the community.

She was honoured for leading a resurgent Silver Ferns to a win in the Netball World Cup in July, having been placed fourth at the Commonwealth Games just the year before.

"It has got me pushed me into thinking I have only just started and I needed to pay this back to netball and the community."

Sir Robert Martin has been made a knight companion after spending thirty years advocating for the rights of those with physical and intellectual disabilities, but he says more needs to be done to help.

He said while things in New Zealand were getting better for people with disabilities, more can be done in areas like education, housing and employment.

"Many people just didn't think we were worth anything," he said.

"What we're trying to do is turn that all around and show we can learn and we can do anything, given the right assistance in our lives.

"People often ask me if I would go through all the bad times again if could change it, and I say yes, because it has taught me a lot, it has taught me my role in the world."

The Honourable Justice Sir Joe Williams of Ngāti Pūkenga and Te Arawa received a knighthood for services to the judiciary, appointed a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

He was the first in his family to achieve School Certificate. With a Bachelor of Laws from Victoria University and a Master of Laws from the University of British Columbia, Sir Joe went on to be appointed Chief Judge of the Māori Land Court in 1999, the Chairperson of the Waitangi Tribunal in 2004, a High Court Judge in 2008, and in 2018 and 2019 respectively a Court of Appeal and then Supreme Court Judge.

Justice Minister Andrew Little said Sir Joe had contributed immensely to elevating Māori voices and tikanga Māori in his legal career in a number of courts.

"Sir Joe Williams has made an immense contribution to the elevation of Māori voices in the justice system. This honour is well-deserved," Mr Little said.

The new Dame Marilyn Waring, public policy professor, former National MP and feminist economist, says since her first book, Counting for Nothing, which examined how GDP was calculated while ignoring unpaid labour, traditionally done by women, little has changed.

She says unpaid labour continues to be ignored in policy-making, despite that fact that if it was calculated as an industry it would be New Zealand's largest.

She says GDP also doesn't measure effects on the environment and until there is a political will to make policy not hinging on GDP, nothing will change.

Steve Hansen says he accepted his knighthood to acknowledge all those who played a part in the All Blacks success during his time as head coach.

A two-time winner of the Rugby World Cup winner - Hansen has been named a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year honours.

The 60-year-old - who was part of the All Blacks for 16 years before stepping away after this year's World Cup - admits he had to think carefully before accepting the accolade.

Hansen has been succeeded in the All Black coaching role by Ian Foster, who was named just before Christmas.

Another senior rugby personality to be honoured is Steve Tew, the former chief executive of New Zealand Rugby, who has been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to sports administration.

Tew said winning bids to host the 2011 men's World Cup and 2021 women's world cup were highlights, along with winning the tournaments. However he reflected most on the difficult times they'd had.

"With the Christchurch earthquakes we lost a World Cup venue and had to tell that city in a time of pain that we weren't going to bring the World Cup there," Tew said.

The award-winning dancer, Parris Goebel says it was an unexpected honour to become a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to dance.

A distinguished choreographer, Ms Goebel led her Royal Family dance crew to victory at the World Hip Hop Dance Championships three times.

She has also worked with famous international artists including Justin Bieber, Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez.

Ms Goebel said the award was an unexpected honour, because dance was often passed over for other sporting codes.

She said the Royal Family had opened a door for young dancers in New Zealand to achieve their dreams of making it onto the international stage.

Knight Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit:

• Joe Williams, the first Maori judge of the Supreme Court,

• Steve Hansen, former All Black coach

• Robert Martin, disabilities advocate

Dame Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit:

• Noeline Taurua, Silver Ferns coach

• Professor Marilyn Waring, economist

• Dr Anna Crighton, heritage advocate

Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit

• Steve Tew, the former chief executive of New Zealand Rugby, for for services to sports administration

• Karyn Hay, Radio New Zealand broadcaster

• Shayne Walker, Senior Lecturer of Social Work

• Gary Wilson, journalist

Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit

• Parris Goebel, choreographer, for services to dance

• Tony Kokshoorn, Grey District's former mayor

• Jenn Hooper, maternity campaigner

Others recognised

• Sue Kedgley, feminist and former Greens politician

• John Barnett, film and television producer

Read more here:

New Year Honours: Recognised for fostering civil society

New Year Honours: Parris Goebel made Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit

New Year Honours: Broadcaster Karyn Hay made Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit

New Year Honours: Robert Martin receives knighthood for services to people with disabilities

New Year Honours: John Barnett recognised for services to film and television

New Year Honours: Sue Kedgley made Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit

New Year Honours: Ex-All Black coach Hansen knighted

New Year Honours: Silver Ferns coach receives a damehood

New Year Honours: Bob Norling for services to railway heritage and community

New Year Honours: Maternity campaigner Jenn Hooper made a member of NZ Order of Merit


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