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 will publish a profile of each recipient and feature a short Q&A over the coming weeks.
Cameron Brown was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to triathlon.
He has been involved in triathlon for 30 years and has been competing professionally for 26 years.
The 44-year-old, who has lived in Bucklands Beach for most of his life and now resides in Dannemora, has competed in the Ironman discipline and has finished on the podium at numerous Ironman World Championships, at Ironman competitions in New Zealand and throughout Australasia, and at European Championships.
Last year he extended his world record as the oldest winner of any Ironman race and also became the first professional man in the world to win the same Ironman race on 12 occasions.
In 2014, he became the official ambassador for Ironman in the Asia-Pacific region and he is also an ambassador for Melanoma New Zealand which, in partnership with Ironman New Zealand, raises awareness for sun safety and the importance of regular skin checks.
Brown was also the ambassador of Breath for Cystic Fibrosis (CF) for five years and in 2016 became the Weet-Bix TRYathlon ambassador.
The Times asked him five questions last week.
Q: Who was the first person you told about receiving this honour and why them?
A: My wife Jenny but she already knew as she had been organising it with Triathlon New Zealand while I was overseas racing.
Q: What does the ONZM mean to you?
A: It’s a huge honour to receive the award and was totally unexpected, I’ve been in the sport now since I was 14 years of age and I still love it.
Q: Does receiving this award change anything for you, does it push you to strive for more?
A: All I want to do is continue to just enjoy the sport of triathlon and hopefully inspire a new generation to start up and compete.
Q: How did you celebrate the announcement?
A: Nothing yet but I will in April when I will officially receive the award so a few more months to wait.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received and how did you follow it/take it on board?
A: Just to have fun and enjoy what you do, if you don’t then you won’t last long. I have seen the world doing triathlons and there are still a few more places to visit so I need to keep going. My favourite quote is from a famous US runner (Steve Prefontaine): “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift”.