Six local figures were recognised in the New Year’s Honours list.
Olympian and World Champion shot-putter Valerie Adams was made a Dame. Triathlete Cameron Brown, health services proponent Ranjna Patel, and shareholders’ advocate Bruce Sheppard were appointed Officers of the New Zealand Order of Merit, while former hockey international Katie Glynn and table tennis champion Chunli Li were made Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
The Times has been publishing a profile of each recipient and featuring a short Q&A over the past few weeks.
Valerie Adams was made a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to athletics.
Ms Adams is a world-renowned shot putter who has won four World Championship gold medals, two Olympics gold medals, three Commonwealth Games gold medals and three World Indoor Championship gold medals.
She currently lives in Half Moon Bay, has lived locally for more than ten years, and is the first woman to win four consecutive individual titles at the world track and field championships.
The Times asked Ms Adams five questions last week.
Q. Who was the first person you told about receiving this honour and why them?
A. My husband. I was a bit blown away and it was pretty cool watching his reaction.
Q. What does the DNZM mean to you?
A. I’m really humbled and honoured. I feel very proud of New Zealand and also Tonga. I am pleased to be recognised for this, both on the field for my sport, but also off the field.
Q. Does receiving this award change anything for you, does it push you to strive for more?
A. Not really. I’m very focused on my next goals. I also want to keep helping communities like I have, try to do more of this and I especially want to try to continue to inspire people to get out there, believe and live healthy lives.
Q. How did you celebrate the announcement?
A. I had a small gathering of special friends and family round home on New Year’s Eve. It was really nice, and a special New Year’s Eve.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received and how did you take it on board?
A. Believe in yourself, set goals and work really hard to achieve them. Be passionate, have fun and embrace the support from your friends and family.