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New Year Honours 2017: Business, local government and the arts

Among new Officers of the NZ Order of Merit are insurance company founder Naomi Ballantyne and Shareholders' Association founder Bruce Sheppard.

Nevil Gibson
Sat, 31 Dec 2016

Achievers in business, recently retired mayors, and leaders in the arts, culture and the media are among those named as officers and members of the New Zealand Order of Merit (see the complete honours list here).


Officers of the NZ Order of Merit (ONZM)

Richard Aitken is chairman of infrastructure and engineering company Beca Group where he has been an executive director for almost 40 years. He has overseen major projects such as the Manukau Wastewater Plant, Auckland Motorway Projects, and the Waterview Tunnel. Beyond Beca, he has helped to develop young engineers, represented the profession on legislative and industry bodies and promoted New Zealand’s engineering capabilities overseas. He talked to NBR after he received the Supreme New Zealand International Business Award for 2009/10. His appointments to external boards include Trustpower, Manukau Wastewater Services, Panuku Development Auckland and Hutt Valley Water Services. His most recent post is to chair Te Punaha Matatini, a new national centre of research excellence at the University of Auckland.

Naomi Ballantyne has had a 34-year career in the life insurance industry and has been responsible for the establishment of the three companies, Sovereign, OnePath Life and Partners Life. US private equity investor Blackstone announced in May it would put $200 million into Partners Life over the next two years. Ms Ballantyne is a motivational speaker has been credited with much of the industry’s product innovation in recent decades.

Roger Bridge is a Christchurch company director with a background primarily in property investment and management. He is chairman of the Rātā Foundation (formerly the Canterbury Community Trust), the largest philanthropic organisation in the South Island with an endowment fund of more than $500 million. He is a director of the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund and Quotable Value. He has been involved in new business ventures, notably co-establishing Allstor Self Storage in 1994, and has held trustee roles with the Christchurch Arts Festival and the Re:Start container mall in Cashel St, Christchurch.

Peter Garden has flown helicopters for more than 30 years and has held a range of positions within the aviation industry. These include chairman of the helicopter division for the Aviation Industry Association and the steering committee of the NZ Helicopter Association. He ran his own company, Peter Garden Helicopters, specialising in agricultural work in Southland and Otago for a number of years. He is regarded as one of the world’s pre-eminent eradication helicopter pilots and has been involved with numerous predator eradication projects with the Department of Conservation and other New Zealand and international organisations. Locations for this have included the sub-Antarctic Campbell Island, several Pacific Islands, the Seychelles and the Aleutian Islands. From 2013-15 he was helicopter adviser and flight operations manager for South Georgia in the southern Atlantic Ocean.

Justine Kidd has contributed to the dairy industry for more than 20 years as a consultant on farm ownership and property development, dairy production research, corporate farming leadership and governance. She chairs BEL Group Dairy Farming, which milks 9500 cows and employs 65 people. She established Kitahi, a Hawke’s Bay-based farmers collective, and is a shareholder in her own dairy farming business. She worked with BNZ to develop its Farm First Growth Programme and with Dairy New Zealand’s farm governance programme. She has been chef d’équipe for the Dressage Young Rider Programme and Equestrian Sports New Zealand’s high performance manager for the 2004 Olympic Games and its chief executive from 2004-07.

Peter Kiely is the senior partner at Kiely Thompson Caisley, an employment and constitutional Auckland law firm, and has had a long association and commitment to promoting New Zealand’s interests in the Pacific. He is chairman of the Pacific Development and Conservation Trust and the Pacific Cooperation Foundation. He was a director of Pacific Forum Line from 1991-2001 and chairman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Advisory Committee on External Aid and Development from 1996-2001, prior to the Development of New Zealand Aid. He is a member of the Papua New Guinea-New Zealand Business Council, the Fiji-New Zealand Business Council and the French-New Zealand Business Council. In 1999 he was appointed Adjunct Professor of Employment Law at Victoria University and he is a member of its Industrial Relations Centre Advisory Board. Mr Kiely has been the honorary consul for the Slovak Republic since 2000.

Ranjna Patel is founder of Nirvana Health Group, one of the country’s largest primary health networks, and which she and her husband started as a sole GP practice in 1977. Nirvana is an umbrella company for more than 30 medical clinics servicing 190,000 registered patients from predominantly lower socio-economic communities. Mrs Patel was the first women president of the Manukau Indian Association from 2010-12 and has been a member of the executive committee of the NZ Indian Central Association. She has chaired the South Asian Leadership Group and is a member of the Counties Manukau South Asian Police Advisory Board, the Police Commissioner’s Ethnic Focus Forum, the Middlemore Foundation Board, Kootuitui ki Papakura Trust, Global Women and Co.OfWomen. Previous honour: Queen’s Service Medal (2009).

Simon Perry chairs the Brian Perry Charitable Trust in Hamilton. It donates approximately $750,000 every year to community projects, including the Perry outdoor education programme for low decile schools, developing the Te Awa River Ride, and partnering with Swimming Waikato and Parafed Waikato. Mr Perry is a former trustee of the Lion Foundation and is on the boards of sports organisations, such as Cycling New Zealand, Swimming New Zealand and the Home of Cycling Trust.

Charles Shadbolt has made a significant contribution to the fishing Industry over the past 50 years as the founder of Independent Fisheries, which employed more than 1000 people at its peak. He has been a major benefactor in the Christchurch region to such organisations as Canterbury Charitable Hospital, St John Ambulance, Salvation Army, St Georges Cancer Care Trust, Conductive Education New Zealand and Canterbury Inspire Foundation. Independent Fisheries had to close its Woolston factory due to earthquake damage but Mr Shadbolt personally ensured all staff were compensated and given employment.

Bruce Sheppard is a partner at Gilligan Sheppard Accountants, which he formed in 1985, but is better known for establishing the NZ Shareholders’ Association in 2001. He was chairman until 2011, during which time it grew from an initial membership of 100 to over 1000 with six branches. He led the campaign for financial market reform and accountability, particularly the Companies and Securities Act and the right to take an action on behalf of investors. He encouraged the establishment of the Financial Markets Authority and was a member of its Establishment Board and Foundation Board. More recently, he has launched a bus technology company Connectionz

Bruce Stewart co-founded construction and property company Calder Stewart Industries in 1955 with two employees. It is now a national company with more than 450 employees. He has been a board member of the Otago Manufacturers Association, Otago Master Builders, and NZ Metal Roofing Manufacturers.

Keith Taylor was deputy chairman of the Earthquake Commission from 2006-16 and is deputy chairman of the Reserve Bank, of which he has been a board member since 2009. His financial, actuarial, insurance and management experience contributed directly to the EQC’s handling of the aftermath of the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes. He also assisted the Treasury in changing the EQC Act to take account of the lessons learned. He has been chairman of the Government Superannuation Fund Authority since 2011, having been a board member since 2008.

Sarah Trotman is director of business relations at AUT University’s business school. She was previously a small business support specialist and organised the Business Expos and the Excellence in Business Support Awards. She was chief executive of Business Mentors New Zealand from 2000-03.

Members of the NZ Order of Merit (MNZM)

Derek Firth has been president of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand (AMINZ) and has represented New Zealand on the ICC International Court of Arbitration and is appointed to assess various cases by the World Bank. For a number of years he has been named as one of New Zealand’s top five arbitrators by the National Business Review. He is a former chairman of Dilworth School and Kristin School.

Lyn Lim is a co-founder and since 2006 has led the litigation practice of the law firm Forest Harrison, which provides legal services to medium-to-large companies and individuals with connections or links with Asia. She is a director of Public Trust, a council member of AUT, a trustee of the Asia New Zealand Foundation and was recently appointed chairwoman of Foundation North, formerly the ASB Community Trust,


Officers of the NZ Order of Merit (ONZM)

Stuart Crosby was Mayor of Tauranga for four terms from 2004 until standing down from re-election in 2016. During this time he was involved in the response to the grounding of the cargo ship Rena on the Astrolobe reef in 2011, New Zealand’s worst maritime environmental disaster.

Annette Main was Mayor of Whanganui for two terms from 2010 until standing down from re-election in 2016. She has worked with local iwi to provide visitors with authentic Māori experiences on the Whanganui River. She owned a visitor accommodation business, The Flying Fox, which has been seen as setting an eco-tourism benchmark for more than 25 years. Ms Main was instrumental in the establishment of the Whanganui River Traders Trust in 2005

Alistair Sowman was Mayor of Marlborough for 12 years until standing down from re-election in 2016. During this time he has overseen the completion of a number of projects, including the Picton foreshore redevelopment, a stadium and aquatic centre, the Endeavour and Giesen centres and the Southern Valleys Irrigation Scheme, along with multi-million dollar sewerage and stormwater upgrades in Blenheim and Picton, and Blenheim’s water treatment.

Vanessa van Uden was Mayor of Queenstown Lakes District Council for two terms until standing down from re-election in 2016. During this time she oversaw the signing of the Queenstown Lakes Housing Accord in 2014 to construct further homes in the region


Officers of the NZ Order of Merit (ONZM)

Barrie Osborne was part of the Oscar-winning team behind The Lord of the Rings trilogy who were recognised with the 2004 Academy Award for Best Picture for ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King’. He had previously received two further Academy Award nominations for the preceding two LOTR films and has been instrumental in attracting a large variety of films to be produced locally in New Zealand, including The Water Horse,‘Pete’s Dragon and The World’s Fastest India’.

Leanne Pooley is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who over a career of more than 20 years has directed more than 20 films. These include 25 April, an animated film about Gallipoli; Beyond the Edge, an account of Sir Edmund Hillary’s ascent of Mt Everest, and Try Revolution about the 1981 Springbok Tour. Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls was the most successful documentary ever made in New Zealand, winning more than 20 international awards and taking close to $2 million at the New Zealand box office. For five years in 1990s Ms Pooley made documentaries for Britain’s major broadcasters including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, as well as PBS in the United States

Members of the NZ Order of Merit (MNZM)

Murray Chandler is the country’s only chess grandmaster and has played internationally for New Zealand and England. He is president of the NZ Chess Federation. He won the first NZ Chess Championship in 1975/76 and qualified as an International Master in 1977. He was Commonwealth champion in 1984 and 1987.

Paula Green is a highly regarded poet and has supported New Zealand literature for more than 30 years. She published her debut collection Cookhouse in 1997 and has since published six further volumes. She has edited the collections Dear Heart: 150 New Zealand Love Poems and A Treasury of New Zealand Poetry for Children. Dr Green edited the 2007 edition of Best New Zealand Poems and co-authored 99 Ways into New Zealand Poetry. She has also been a children’s writer since 2006 and has published five titles, including the award-winning Letterbox Cat and Other Poems.

Bernadette Hall is a writer and poet who has held residencies and fellowships at the universities of Otago, Canterbury and Victoria. She has published 10 collections of poetry, the most recent being Maukatere, floating mountain (2016). She edited Like Love Poems: Selected poems by Joanna Margaret Paul (2006) and the online anthology Best New Zealand Poems 2011. She co-edited Big Sky: A collection of Canterbury poems (2002). She was a long term poetry editor of Takahe magazine and also for The Press newspaper.

Hewitt Humphrey was for many years one of the best-known voices in broadcasting. He was a manager and newsreader with Radio New Zealand until 2015 and has been recognised with many industry awards. He has trained and mentored young journalists for many years and played a critical role in maintaining on-air standards. As a Justice of the Peace since 1996, he has been one of only a small number of JPs appointed as a Visiting Justice under the Corrections Act and has been involved with training new Visiting Justices. Previous honour: Queen’s Service Medal for Public Services (1998).

Phillip Mann is a science fiction writer, academic and theatre director. He founded the country’s first drama studies course at Victoria University in 1970 and lectured in drama before becoming professor in 1997. Since the release of his first book The Eye of the Queen in 1982 he has published many novels, including the four-volume series A Land Fit for Heroes, released between 1993 and 1996. He received the Sir Julius Vogel Award for services to Science Fiction in 2010 and his 2013 novel The Disestablishment of Paradise was shortlisted for the Arthur C Clarke Award in 2014.

Terence McNamara has been the art critic for The New Zealand Herald since 1966. He has a background as a teacher at secondary school and tertiary levels.

Rima Te Wiata has had an acting career spanning 35 years in television and theatrical productions in New Zealand and Australia. In the late 1980s she appeared in more than 200 episodes of the Australian soap opera Sons and Daughters. She appeared in the sitcom version of The Billy T James Show and sketch show Laughinz. Her recent feature film appearances include Housebound (2014) and Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016).


Members of the NZ Order of Merit (MNZM)

Liz Sinclair was a deputy commissioner at the State Services Commission from 2012-16. She was responsible for coordinating the government response to the Royal Commission on the Pike River Mine disaster, leading the commission’s team responsible for establishing the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and contributing to the working party to refocus Te Puni Kokiri and the establishment of Te Matawai. From 2004-11 she was deputy secretary, operations at the Ministry of Justice.

Benesia Smith held senior leadership roles with the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) from establishment until its windup in 2016. She was a member of the policy advisory group of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet at the time of the 2010 Canterbury earthquakes.

Nevil Gibson
Sat, 31 Dec 2016
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New Year Honours 2017: Business, local government and the arts