Over 180 people from New Zealand have received special awards on King’s Birthday. The highest honor went to Queen Camilla, who became an Additional Member of The Order of New Zealand.
Former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was made a Dame Grand Companion of The New Zealand Order of Merit. Three other women also became Dames, and three men became Knights. They are Jo Brosnahan, Dr. Teuila Percival, Helene Quilter, Justice John Stephen Kós, Selwyn Parata, and Wayne Smith.
There were other awards too, like Companions, Officers, and Members of The New Zealand Order of Merit, as well as Honorary Members and Queen’s Service Medals.
Three brave people from the New Zealand Defense Force also received honors. Group Captain Glenn Gowthorpe, Squadron Leader George McInnes, and Lieutenant Colonel Vanessa Ropitini were recognized for their outstanding work.
Gowthorpe led the NZDF’s Operation Protect task force during the Covid-19 pandemic. He said the award was a recognition of the entire team’s hard work. McInnes was honored for rescuing three people from floodwaters in Canterbury. Ropitini received the honor for her work as the Logistic Task Group Commander in Germany, where she helped support the response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. She was also surprised and felt honored.
Out of the 182 recipients, 94 were women and 88 were men. They were recognized for their contributions to various fields like arts, business, community service, education, health, science, and sports.
Most of the awards were given to those who made a difference in their communities through volunteering and local services.