The country’s top sportswoman for many years, Olympian Valerie Adams, "go to" businessman Brian Roche and former politician and Wellington mayor Fran Wilde are among the seven who receive top recognition in the New Year Honours List.
The others are Distinguished Professor Richard Faull, a world-leading brain disease specialist, former High Court judge and arbitrator David Williams QC, educationalist Georgina Kingi and Niue Premier Toke Tulagi,
Dame Valerie Adams' achievement as the world’s best shotputter includes a gold medal at the London Olympics in 2012 when the original winner was disqualified after a drug test and Dame Valerie herself was nearly disqualified by a clerical error. She was named Halberg Sportswoman of the Year for seven consecutive years and won the Halberg Supreme Award three times. Her high profile involves making many charity appearances and recognition of her athletic strength and prowess resulted in a large tunnelling machine working on the Auckland City Rail Link being named after her. Dame Valerie's previous honour was an officer of the NZ Order of Merit (2009).
Sir Brian Roche is noted as the “go to” man when the government or a business wants significant change. These have included the gas industry and New Zealand Post, where he has been chief executive since 2010 and will retire from next April. His latest appointment is to chair Auckland City Rail Link, the company responsible for the country’s largest infrastructure project. Sir Brian has chaired the Auckland Regional Transport Authority and the NZ Transport Agency. He chairs the Wellington Gateway Partnership (Transmission Gully) as well as Antarctica New Zealand, Tait New Zealand and the Hurricanes rugby team. In 2011, he chaired the company running the Rugby World Cup and more recently the World War I Centenary Panel.
Dame Fran (Frances) Wilde is a former Wellington mayor, Labour cabinet minister and reformer, best known for promoting the Homosexual Law Reform Act passed in 1986. Her involvement in local and central government spans 30 years and last year she retired from the Wellington Regional Council. She holds positions as chairwoman of the Remuneration Authority and the Wellington Lifelines Group; is a Treaty of Waitangi chief Crown negotiator; deputy chairwoman of the NZ Transport Agency and Capital Coast District Health Board; and director of Te Papa Tongarewa museum and the Whitireia-Weltec polytechnic council. Previous honours include being made a Companion of the NZ Order of Merit (2012) and Companion of the Queen’s Service Order (1996).
Sir David Williams QC is a former High Court judge and one of the world’s top international arbitrators, having handled some 150 cases. He helped establish a New Zealand branch of the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce, Court of Arbitration and was the first New Zealand appointee from 1999-2002. He was president of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand from 2004-06, during which time he established the AMINZ Arbitration Appeals Tribunal. He was a High Court from 1991-94 and president of the Cook Islands Court of Appeal. In 2010 he drafted an Arbitration Act, which was passed by the Cook Islands Parliament. He is co-author of New Zealand’s leading text on arbitration and early in his career wrote the first New Zealand legal text on environmental law.
Sir Richard Faull has been a researcher at the University of Auckland for 38 years, establishing an international reputation for studies on the normal and diseased human brain, Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Motor Neuron diseases. In 2009, he was appointed the inaugural director of the Centre for Brain Research, which comprises 70 research groups with more than 450 researchers and students, 40 clinicians and 23 community organisations. Previous honours and awards include
World Class New Zealand Award (2010), Royal Society of New Zealand Rutherford Medal (2007) and officer of the NZ Order of Merit (2005).
Dame Georgina Kingi has been the principal of St Joseph’s Māori Girls’ College in Hawke’s Bay since 1987, having taught at the school since 1969. She was named a Companion of the Queen's Service Order for Public Services (2004) and awarded the NZ Suffrage Centennial Medal (1993).
Sir Toke Tulagi has been Premier of Niue since 2008 and a common roll member of the Niue Assembly since 1999. He has been a key player in the Polynesia Leaders Group and was instrumental in Niue becoming one of the founding members. He has held ministerial roles in finance, telecommunications, education and the environment since 2002, resulting in the growth of Niue's tourism industry and the construction of a new primary school that was completed this year.
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