Dancer tearful at honour

LAURA WALTERS
Last updated 20:24 25/03/2014
candy lane
Lawrence Smith/Fairfax Media
BEAMING: Candy Michele Lane receives her QSM for her services to dance at Auckland's Government House.

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Celebrity dancer Candy Lane fought back tears while the rest of the recipients at today's investiture ceremony grinned from ear to ear.

The Dancing with the Stars judge received the Queen's Service Medal for services to dance from Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae at today's ceremony at Government House in Auckland.

The Aucklander was recognised for competing, teaching, choreographing and judging dance.

The ceremony was different from anything else she had experienced, Lane said through tears of happiness.

Her mother was in the audience and Lane wore her late father's ring while receiving the honour.

She said she was "thrilled" and "humbled".

The medal was a form of recognition dance did not usually receive, she said.

She felt privileged and responsible for representing the New Zealand dance community but it was not a burden.

"I feel very grown-up."

Her medal would replace her dance shoes in her bed, Lane said.

Dame Alison Paterson was also recognised at today's ceremony.

The Aucklander, who had been in corporate governance since the 1970s, was invested as a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business.

Paterson's husband, siblings and stepsons were there to see her receive the honour.

Paterson started out as a King Country accountant and went on to serve at the Reserve Bank for 14 years, becoming deputy chairwoman. She is a director of electricity network provider Vector and has several rural-based roles.

Paterson said she was surprised when she first learned she would become a dame.

"There are a lot of very worthy people in New Zealand [and] whether you're recognised or not depends on someone thinking to nominate you ... I'm lucky."

Sir Noble (Toby) Curtis was invested as a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Maori education.

Curtis was made a knight after 45 years in the education sector from primary school to tertiary level.

The Rotorua man worked as a clerk for the Maori Affairs department before teacher training and a job as a primary school teacher. He taught intellectually disabled children and had senior roles at Hato Petera College, Auckland Teacher's College, Auckland Institute of Technology and Auckland University of Technology.

He was appointed chairman of the Iwi Education Authority for tribal immersion schools, has been involved in Maori broadcasting and was deputy chair of Te Wananga o Aotearoa Council .

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Curtis said being knighted was something that happened to other people.

"When all of a sudden you become one of those others you start to think differently."

He was lucky to be living in a country that had "so much hope for the future", Curtis said.

Kingiareta (Kingi) Biddle also received the Queen's Service Medal for services to Maori and mental health.

Biddle, who is from the same Te Arawa iwi as Curtis, said he was "over the moon".

There were no words in English to describe how he felt, Biddle said.

Receiving the honour was a childhood dream because his ancestor received a Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1940, Biddle said.

"It's sweeter than honey on a hot summer's day."


- Fairfax Media

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