Racing Minister Winston Peters promises "change for the better" when opening the 92nd annual event.
Rugby legend Bryan Williams is among the new knights.
Others include Auckland businessman Bill Birnie, former Federated Farmers president William Rolleston and technology educator Frances Valintine.
Company also claims it has "never – and would never – do anything to intentionally shorten" the life of its products.
The kiwi "was the best performing major currency in December, amid a more positive dynamic for commodity currencies" – BNZ's Jason Wong.
The 2018 New Year Honours List will be released on Saturday, December 30. The embargo lifts at 5am. Check www.nbr.co.nz after that time for the full list plus highlights of those who have been recognised for their personal achievements and contributions to society.
Opinion: Business confidence has soured with the Beehive's red hue. However, the economy is in good heart.
The critics rave over the horror-thriller Get Out but it made little impact on Kiwi audiences.
Tourism Holdings posted the biggest gain on the day, up 1.5% to an all-time high $6.05 and rounding out a 64% rally this year.