Champions of women top King’s Birthday Honours

Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston has congratulated the large number of women who received King’s Birthday Honours this year, including two inspiring new Dames Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

“Dame Joan Withers’ is a formidable force in the business world and a true champion of diversity in boardrooms, while Dame Theresa Gattung has challenged the many systemic barriers women face throughout her considerable career and continues to pave the way for many more women leaders to follow.

“While many nominees are recognised for their influence and seniority, it is important to also appreciate those who demonstrate longevity of service, and both women are wonderful examples.

“I’m thrilled to see 85 women recognised in the 2024 King’s Birthday Honours List, which is about half of all recipients. It’s great to see their contributions spanning across so many areas of society, with healthy representation in the health, education, and sport and recreational categories.

“I congratulate all women who have been honoured this year and thank them for everything they have done for New Zealand.

“Our volunteers and grassroots organisations are an integral part of Kiwi culture, and their efforts make our society stronger. As Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, I appreciate the work they do.

“From alcohol and drug harm reduction to wildlife conservation and vital frontline services like firefighting, we are very lucky to have these people giving back to their communities. 

“Many who volunteer, do so without the expectation of being rewarded but I am pleased so many have today, with 67 of the 176 recipients being from the Community and Voluntary Sector. Each of them deserves to be celebrated.

“Congratulations to all recipients of this year’s honours. New Zealand is a better place thanks to your contributions to our communities.”