Sports stars and administrators honoured

Sport and Recreation

The New Year Honours List includes an array of sporting stars and grassroots administrators who reflect the best of Aotearoa’s sporting and recreation community.

The appointment of Farah Palmer as a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit acknowledges her enormous contribution to sport and rugby in particular. A multi World Cup winning captain, Sport NZ and NZ Rugby Board member, Dame Farah was this year awarded the prestigious Vernon Pugh Award for distinguished service by World Rugby.

“Dame Farah is an icon of the game. Her contribution on and off the field has inspired and enabled women and men to achieve greatness. In this year of a World Cup win for the Black Ferns it is only fitting that she is acknowledged in this way,” Grant Robertson said.

The list includes appointments as Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit for multi Olympic and World Champion rowers Hamish Bond and Eric Murray and former Silver Fern and coach and longtime Netball administrator Leigh Gibbs. 

“Hamish and Eric have an unparalleled record, having been undefeated between 2009 and 2016, with 69 consecutive wins together. Leigh has given 50 years of service to netball at the highest level, and at the grassroots of the game,” Grant Robertson said.

Former New Zealand Olympic Committee Secretary General Kereyn Smith has also been appointed as a CNZM. 

“Kereyn led the Olympic movement for 11 years during a period of enormous success for our athletes and is internationally recognised as high quality sports administrator.”

Among other sporting honourees, Nico Porteous, Zoi Sadowski-Synott and Corey Peters are acknowledged for their success at Winter Olympics and Paralympics, with appointments as Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

“Our Snow Sports athletes have taken New Zealand to new heights in recent years and thoroughly deserve their recognition.”

Other appointments to the New Zealand Order of Merit include World No 1 and Commonwealth Games Squash champion Paul Coll, netballer Anna Harrison, adventure racer Nathan Fa’ave, powerlifting administrator Grahame Fong, long serving basketball referee Melony O’Connor and Northland Rugby Administrator Cheryl Smith.

“Congratulations to all those who have been honoured. It is a recognition of excellence and service that is thoroughly deserved,” Grant Robertson said.