New Year Honours 2018: Former political foes become dames

Rugby legend Bryan Williams is among the new knights. 

Two former cabinet ministers, Annette King and Georgina Te Heuheu, have been knighted and elevated to Dame Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year Honours.

Also knighted are Auckland fashion designer Denise L’Estrange-Corbet and former Māori party president Naida Glavish.

Former All Black Bryan Williams adds a knighthood to his other honours, CNZM and MBE. Other new knights are Maori cultural adviser John Clarke and former Court of Appeal judge Douglas White, QC.

Author Joy Cowley, who is a Distinguished Companion of the NZ Order of Merit, has been appointed to the elite Order of New Zealand (ONZ), which is limited to only 20 living members.

Dame Annette King was deputy leader of the then opposition Labour party from 2014 until March this year ahead of her retirement from Parliament in September.  She first entered Parliament in 1984 and was a minister in the fourth and fifth Labour governments. She was also deputy leader of the opposition from 2008-11. Her cabinet portfolios have included health, employment, immigration, transport, police and justice. Among key achievements during her time as minister were the establishment of the district health boards, changes to the Public Health and Disability Act, rebuilding of hospitals and action on smoking and obesity. 

Dame Georgina te Heuheu was first elected to Parliament in 1996, becoming a minister in the fourth and fifth National governments until her retirement in 2011. She was subsequently appointed chairwoman of Maori Television. Ministerial portfolios have included courts, Pacific Island affairs, disarmament and arms control, and women's affairs. Before her election as an MP, she was a member of the Waitangi Tribunal for 10 years. Previous honour: QSO (1993).

Dame Naida Glavish is the Chief Adviser Tikanga Māori with the He Kāmaka Waiora, Māori Health, for the Waitemata and Auckland District Health Boards. As head of Te Runanga o Ngati Whatua she worked with Auckland Police and iwi leaders in 2014 on solutions for Māori homeless and is Māori adviser to the Police Commissioner. She stepped down as president of the Māori party in 2016 after three years. Previous honour: ONZM (2011).

Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet is co-founder of Auckland fashion house World, which was the first to be globally endorsed by the UN for its Global Goals T-shirt design in 2015. She has done design work for many health-related charities, including the Starship Foundation and Leukaemia and Blood Cancer Foundation. She is an ambassador for the IHC Art Awards, Diabetes New Zealand and the Mental Health Foundation. Earlier this year she was awarded the Westpac Women of Influence for Arts & Culture. Previous honour: MNZM (2002).

Sir John Clarke has been a cultural adviser to the Crown Law Office since 2004 and with the Office of Treaty Settlements since 1997. He has been chairman of the Māori Heritage Council since 2013 and deputy chairman of Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga from 2014. Previous honour: CNZM (2011).

Sir Douglas White, QC, is president of the Law Commission and was a judge on the Court of Appeal from 2012 until his retirement in 2015. He was previously a High Court judge from 2009, after having practised as a QC from 1988. He has been involved in a number of public inquiries, including into Te Whanau o Waipareira Trust. From 2005-07, he was the legal adviser to Dame Margaret Bazley's Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct. His long involvement with Victoria University includes being chancellor.

Sir Bryan Williams has been involved in rugby in New Zealand and Samoa since the 1960s. He played for the All Blacks from 1970-78 and has since been involved in coaching and administration. He was president of New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) from 2011-13 and oversaw the 2011 Rugby World Cup. In 2015, he received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Auckland in 2015. Previous honours: CNZM (2013), MBE (1983) 

Joy Cowley's appointment to the Order of New Zealand fills one of two vacancies for ordinary members. The previous appointment to the ONZ was former All Black captain Richie McCaw in the 2016 New Year Honours. Ms Cowley's long literary career began with a novel, Nest in a Falling Tree (1967), followed by dozens of children's books, adult fiction and many awards. These include the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in fiction in 2010 and the University of Alabama’s Maryann Manning Award for Outstanding Literacy Scholar in 2011. Previous honours: DCNZM (2005), OBE (1992).

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