Investiture ceremony held at Auckland's Government House
Former Telecom chief executive and the co-founder of My Food Bag says she is honoured to be seen as a role model to other women in business.
Theresa Gattung was awarded the Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit by governor general Sir Jerry Mateparae along with 11 others at Auckland's Government House on Wednesday afternoon.
Gattung was supported by a large contingent of family and friends at the ceremony and said she was most grateful to her parents for the opportunities that had allowed her to succeed. Their decision to move to New Zealand from Britain meant she had been able to take advantage of numerous opportunities, she said.
Gattung's long list of achievements includes chief executive of Telecom, chair of AIA Australia, chair of the Wellington Board of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and co-founder of the Eva Doucas Charitable Trust which supports Womens' Refuge. She is also co-founder and director of My Food Bag.
"Encouraging other women has has been important to me. I have loved every facet of my life," Gattung said.
She said being seen as a role model to other women in business took a long time to accept. "I just saw myself as doing my thing."
Also honoured at the ceremony was actress Lisa Harrow who splits her time evenly between the USA and New Zealand.
Harrow said it meant a huge deal to her to be honoured by the Governor General. "I just wish my parents had been here...you go overseas and you're full of dreams and you want to be a Shakespearean actress and you conquer the world...but what you really want is to be home...I'm very touched and moved by it."
Harrow joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in London in 1969 and since then has been a leading lady in more than 40 stage productions in multiple countries.
She said the most important thing to her was to try and pass on her skills to those who were just starting out in the industry.
For services to the wine industry Joe Babich was recognised after 50 years with Babich wines, a family business which has had a huge impact on New Zealand's wines.
Babich is managing director of Babich Wines, has been a wine judge for more than 35 years and supplies wine throughout the world. He said none of his success had come overnight rather taking decades of hard work and perseverance.
Also honoured was athlete Jo Aleh for her many achievements in sailing including an Olympic gold medal in London in 2012. She said it was always good to be home and to accept this honour meant a lot to her.
She also said that Mateparae had told her he had his eye on her and her team for the next Olympic Games. "No pressure."