Chef, author and TV personality Peta Mathias was individually welcomed into the New Zealand Order of Merit in a special investiture ceremony conducted by Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae yesterday.
About 20 family and friends, including chef Julie Le Clerc, joined Mathias at Government House in Auckland for the celebration, which was held early as she will be in France hosting culinary tours from May to November when the official ceremony is scheduled to take place.
Looking exuberant in a green striped dress, Ms Mathias, 63, received the award for services as a writer and television presenter. "It's extremely special, I'm so glad I was unavailable," she joked.
Sir Jerry acknowledged her character and work ethic.
"Ms Mathias, we have been privileged to hear your story. You have set a fine example that inspires, encourages and motivates others. Your contribution has enriched the social, cultural, economic and culinary tapestry of Aotearoa, New Zealand."
Mathias, who also writes an agony aunt column for The Dominion Post, said she initially thought it was a mistake when she received an email notifying her of the investiture.