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New Year Honours List: Arise Sir Robert Parker

Former Christchurch mayor Bob Parker, who led the city through the earthquakes, is now Sir Robert.

He heads a list of two dames and four knights created in the New Year Honours List, released today.

Sir Robert was a two-term mayor who made a career in local govrnment after being a successful broadcaster. He stood down at the local body elections.

Fashion designer Trelise Cooper has been made a dame and is one of three who have been honoured from that industry.

The second dame is company director and corporate governance expert Alison Paterson. 

Hamilton businessman Peter Vela, head of New Zealand Bloodstock and who with his brother Philip founded a substantial fishing business, also becomes a knight.

The other two remaining knights are Maori educationalist Dr Noble (Toby) Thomson and Archbishop David Moxon, who is now representing the worldwide Anglican church at the Vatican in Rome.

Two prominent Christchurch businessmen, who have helped lead the earthquake recovery effort, have been made companions of the NZ Order of Merit, the second highest tier of honours.

Richard Ballantyne is head of the Ballantynes department store, which anchors the city’s much reduced retail centre, while Peter Townsend leads the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce.

Apart from Dame Trelise, honours in the fashion industry have gone to designers Karen Walker and Francis Hooper (World).

In the creative arts, honours have been made to Eleanor Catton, the Man Booker Prize winner for her novel The Luminaries; expat Phil Keoghan for TV's The Amazing Race and his tourism promotion efforts; Utu director Geoff Murphy; and poet Jenny Bornholdt.

Honours in the arts have also been made to Alistair Carruthers, who chaired the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council from 2007-13; Kevin Chapman, the recently retired head of publisher Hachette; and Alan Sorrel, who chaired the New Zealand Film Commission from 1996-2002.

Tourism and property feature with honours made to formerly US-based Peter Cooper for his Britomart redevelopment in downtown Auckland and Scenic Hotels Group’s Earl Hagaman.

Others similarly recognised are Don McLaren, founder of Bomac Laboratories, and Prolife Foods founders Bernard and Ann Crosby, of Hamilton. 

As usual, High Court judges and local government are well represented, with honours going to substantial number of long-serving mayors or former mayors.

Honours with academic links include Victoria University business school dean Bob Buckle, pastoral scientist Stephen Goldson and Lincoln University chancellor Tom Lambie.

In sport, honours have been made to John Reid, New Zealand cricket captain in the 1950s and 1960s, squash professional Ross Norman and 1974 Commonwealth Games 10,000m gold medal winner Dick Tayler.

A number of long-serving public servants, such as the recently retired registrar of companies Neville Harris and Crown Law Office general counsel John Pike, QC, have been made companions of the Queen's Service Order.

Full profiles of 10 top honours are here and a selective list of all honours is here. The complete list is here.

More by Nevil Gibson

Comments and questions

Another wasted opportunity to recognise some New Zealanders who are not millionaires nor successful business entrepreneurs but who have dedicated their lives to help people in need, folks like Sully Paea in Manukau City or Dianne Robertson at the City Mission, why are we recognising people who happen to make a fortune from their chosen profession and little else?

Good on you Sir Bob. One of the more deserving individuals for a gong in many a year.

There are many in Christchurch who would strongly disagree.

The whole knighthood thing sickens me. Hows about the everyday heros, the school teachers and ambulance driver?
Just rewarding rich people, whom predominantly inherited great wealth to start off with
It should be abandoned again!!

These so called honor's things, well it's about the only thing that the Clarke admin got right, they should be banned and binned, all they are is toys for the boys who are so called mates of the nominators, 80% of the population deserve to be recognized in some shape or form, but only the chosen one's get the reward so therefore none should be awarded, end of story, they are an absolute farce, I know of hundreds of worthy recipients, but the are not the correct flavor of the ruling party, and that is what it just about comes down to.