Sporting great, the late Yvette Corlett CNZM, MBE of Howick has been made a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to athletics.
The honour was approved by Her Majesty and took effect on April 12 this year. Dame Yvette had agreed to accept the honour before she died on April 13.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern this morning congratulated the New Zealanders recognised for their contributions to the country and their communities in the latest Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
The 183 honours recipients include four Dame and three Knight Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit. One Pakuranga woman – Anne Howell – was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal.
“Every honours recipient has made a valuable contribution to their community and our country. Their commitment to excellence and service represents the best of New Zealand,” Ardern said.
“It is with sadness that we recognise Yvette Corlett as a Dame Companion for her pioneering contribution to athletics.
“As the first New Zealand women to win an Olympic gold medal she was a trailblazer. In addition to her ground-breaking athletics success she undertook lifelong service to sport as a volunteer and administrator.
“I think many Kiwis will agree that Yvette’s recognition at this level was long overdue – but I’m pleased that she knew she was to become a Dame before she passed away.
Dame Yvette was the first New Zealand female athlete to win an Olympic Gold medal in 1952 in the long jump event. She served as Patron of Counties Manukau Regional Sports Trust for 17 years until 2009. She was Patron of Athletics New Zealand from 2003 to 2006 and served on the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame’s Board of Governors from 1990 to 1995.
She served for 40 consecutive years on the selection panel for the New Zealand Herald Junior Sports Awards. Dame Yvette continued to volunteer her time coaching at the Panmure Young Citizens Centre.
Sport & Recreation Minister Grant Robertson also acknowledged the late Yvette Corlett (nee Williams).
“This is a special recognition for the ground-breaking role Dame Yvette played when becoming the first female athlete to win an Olympic Gold medal in 1952 in the long jump event,” Robertson said
“Dame Yvette paved the way for many female athletes who still pay homage to their own successes today. This award also recognises her continued work within sport and the wider community throughout her life,” Robertson said.
Meanwhile Anne Howell of Pakuranga has been awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for services to the community and education.
Mrs Howell has been involved in the education community in the Anchorage Park School area in Pakuranga, Auckland, since 1981.
Mrs Howell was a member of the Anchorage Park Kindergarten Committee, and foundation member and Secretary of the Anchorage Park School Board of Trustees. She has served on the Board continuously since 1989, and has been the Board Chairperson since 2006.
Her support and advocacy was instrumental in the retention of the Anchorage Park Community Centre on the grounds of the School. This Community Centre continues to thrive today and offers a much needed facility and support for the local community.
Her key responsibilities on the board have included management of the school’s property projects and school security. She is the first point of contact for the security monitoring service, for community users of the school pool in the weekends and over the summer holiday break and for users of the school hall after hours.
She also served on the Pakuranga Intermediate School Board of Trustees from 1992 to 1998 and on the Edgewater College Board from 1998 to 2004. Mrs Howell has been the chairperson of the Farm Cove Scout Group since 2016.