John's big scoop

23:46, Aug 03 2011
John Hawkesby
Queen' Birthday honours: John Hawkesby was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to broadcasting and community last Thursday. Daughter Jessica, left, and wife Joyce attended the awards with him.

The honour of receiving one of the country's top awards was all too much for veteran broadcaster John Hawkesby, who admitted he almost fainted.

The well-known broadcaster and Church Bay resident has become a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to broadcasting and the community.

He was one of 19 New Zealanders presented with Queen's Birthday honours at Government House in Auckland by Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand on Thursday morning.

A further 19 were awarded in the afternoon.

Mr Hawkesby is used to speaking in public and has even spoken at past Government House events.

Since moving to Waiheke he has hosted several charity events including for The Village Project and was last seen on a podium as the smooth-talking Master of Ceremonies at the Mad Butcher and Suburban Newspapers Community Trust Midwinter Christmas Celebration at SkyCity. The event raised money for the Prime Minister's Christchurch Earthquake Appeal and Kidney Kids.

But the latest ceremony left him feeling faint.

"As I was walking forward there was a lack of oxygen to the brain. I was slightly overcome."

He did not place much credence on the award at first but now feels quite "chuffed" with his medal.

Mr Hawkesby has spent his life working across TVNZ, TV3 and Radio New Zealand, but his first job on a Christian radio station offered the greatest rewards, he says.

He worked for the Christian Broadcasting Association in the 1970s, offering counselling and support to youth dealing with issues like suicide.

"In terms of broadcasting, that had the most value."

His wife Joyce and daughter Jessica, who attended the awards with him, say it's an honour well deserved.

"The number of times John has come home on the last ferry from charity functions and, on occasion, missed it, he deserves the recognition," she says. "If his dad was here he would be so proud. He'd probably just be grinning with tears in his eyes."

Mr Hawkesby's father Jack died in 1997.

Queen's honours were awarded to arts patron Sir James Wallace, cricketer Daniel Vettori and philanthropist Dame Rosemary Horton


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