Queens Birthday Honours 2016: Liz Coutts (ONZM)

When Liz Coutts picked up the Government House envelope from her letterbox she thought it would be an invitation to dinner with Sir Jerry Mateparae.

The Governor-General is patron of Auckland Tennis and had previously hosted a dinner for the board, one of Ms Coutts’ many directorship roles.

Instead, it contained the news that she has been appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to governance.

“So, when I opened it up, it was pretty amazing,” she says.

Her honour acknowledges her significant contribution across the public and private sectors, working across the fields of health, primary industries, and investment.

Ms Coutts was the first woman to be appointed as vice-president of the National Council of the Institute of Directors. Her service on boards, trusts and committees includes as a director of Air New Zealand Ltd, Pharmac, and the Health Funding Authority; as chairwoman of Industrial Research; as deputy chairwoman of the Public Trust board; and as a member of the Commerce Commission, Sport and Recreation New Zealand board, and an Earthquake Commissioner. She has acted as a strong role model for other women looking for leadership roles, and has applied her extensive governance and commercial experience to the not-for-profit and charitable sectors through her involvement with the Auckland Youthline Charitable Trust, and a number of local and national sporting organisations.

It’s great to be recognised for all the work behind the scenes, says Ms Coutts.

“It’s also an opportune time to acknowledge and thank all those people for all the opportunities they’ve given me and they’ve put faith in me and supported me along the way.”

Ms Coutts is chairwoman of Ports of Auckland and a director of listed companies Ebos, Sanford and Skellerup.

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