New Year Honours 2018: Companions include former RBNZ governor, cabinet ministers

Others include Auckland businessman Bill Birnie, former Federated Farmers president William Rolleston and technology educator Frances Valintine.

Former Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler and two former cabinet ministers, Michael Bassett and Peter Dunne, are among seven new Companions in the NZ Order of Merit (CNZM).

Others include Auckland businessman Bill Birnie, former Federated Farmers president William Rolleston and technology educator Frances Valintine.

Dr Michael Bassett spent five terms in Parliament between 1972 and 1990 before returning to his academic career as an historian and author. He is the author of 15 books, primarily political histories and biographies, 12 of which have been published since 1993. His most recent book, New Zealand’s Prime Ministers: From Dick Seddon to John Key, was published this year. His academic roles include professor of history at the University of Western Ontario from 1992-96 and the Auckland University Medical School from 1997-2000. He was a Fulbright Scholar of New Zealand studies at Georgetown University in Washington DC in 2002. He was a member of the Waitangi Tribunal from 1994-2004. He was a board member of Te Papa Tongarewa museum from 2009-13. Previous honour: QSO (1992).

William (Bill) Birnie is best known to NBR readers as an investment banker and businessman, originally with Fay Richwhite and later with his own companies in the medical sector, cosmetics and property development. But this honour is for his philanthropic work and contributions to arts and sport. Board memberships include Sport New Zealand, High Performance Sport New Zealand, NZ Equestrian Federation and the New Zealand Film Commission. As chairman, he led the development of BlackGold, which connects philanthropic investors with the sports system. Charities and arts organisations include Kids Can, Pet Refuge NZ, James Wallace Arts Trust, Circa Theatre and Wellington Arts Festival.

Dr Garth Carnaby had a career in wool and agricultural research before moving into senior scientific governance positions. He was elected president of the Royal Society of New Zealand from 2009-12 and, before that, was chairman of the Marsden Fund Council from 2004-09. He has chaired the NZ Synchrotron Group since 2006, which manages New Zealand’s investment in Australasia’s largest science infrastructure project. He chairs the BioResource Processing Alliance, which manages 120 industry-led projects aimed at developing new products from waste streams. He also chaired the Canterbury Development Corporation from 2007-12 and has returned to wool research at Lincoln Agritech, which aims to reposition wool as a raw material for new industrial uses in cosmetics, personal care, paper making and synthetic fibre sectors. Previous honour: MNZM (2006).

Peter Dunne announced his retirement from politics just before the September election, a move that ended a record period as a minister for a total of 14 years in both Labour and National governments. It also led to the demise of his United Future party, whose origins went back to 1994, 10 years after he was first elected in the Ohariu electorate. His ministerial portfolios included regional development, revenue and internal affairs. As associate minister of health he shaped the 2015-20 National Drug Policy and he also played a key role in the establishment of Fire and Emergency New Zealand in 2017.

Dr Manying Ip is Emeritus Professor of the University of Auckland’s School of Asian Studies and is the country’s foremost expert on issues related to Chinese New Zealanders. Her major publications are Aliens at my Table: Asians as New Zealanders see them (2005), Being Māori Chinese: Mixed Identities (2008), Unfolding History, Evolving Identity: The Chinese in New Zealand (editor and contributor, 2003), The Dragon and the Taniwha: Māori and Chinese in New Zealand (2009) and Transmigration and the New Chinese: Theories and practices from the New Zealand experience (2011). She was co-director of the 2004 television documentary New Faces Old Fears and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand. Previous honour: ONZM (1996)

Dr William Rolleston is a qualified medical practitioner who was founding chairman of the NZ Biotechnology Industry Organisation and of the Life Sciences Network, an umbrella organisation of national science and industry organisations that advocated for science-based regulation of genetic modification. In 1988, he co-established South Pacific Sera (SPS) and in 2011 he was instrumental in the “Farmy Army” response to the Christchurch earthquake. He was elected vice-president of the World Farmers Organisation in July 2015 and acting president from September 2016 until June 2017.


Frances Valintine.

Frances Valintine has established three successful education organisations over the past 19 years and is prominent as an advocate and mentor for women in the technology sector. She co-led the Media Design School from 1998 and founded The Mind Lab in 2013. She then launched the Tech Futures Lab in 2016. She is a member of the Callaghan Innovation board; the KEA network; Talentnomics, based in Washington DC; and the Artificial Intelligence Forum New Zealand. She has been inducted into the New Zealand HiTech Hall of Fame and received the Westpac Women of Influence – Innovation award in 2015.

Graeme Wheeler embarked on a career in international finance at the World Bank in 1997 after leaving the Treasury where he rose to deputy secretary in 1993. He had joined it in 1973 and other positions included a stint at the OECD from 1984-90 as a member of the New Zealand delegation. At the World Bank he was managing director of operations from 2006-10 before co-founding an advisory company that provided advice on Russian privatisation to investors and Russian policymakers. He was governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand from 2012-17 after a five-year term, during which he reduced official interest rates to an historic low.

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