Rodney Hide's investiture caused a stir of laughter in the usually formal atmosphere of Government House when, amongst the veteran MP's other achievements, his stint on TV's Dancing with the Stars was mentioned.
Hide was awarded the Queen's Service Order medal for services as a Member of Parliament.
Before he entered politics he was a university lecturer in economics and resource management - he entered Parliament as a list MP for the ACT Party in 1996 and led the party between 2004 and 2011, during which time he was also the MP for Epsom.
In 2006 he reached fourth place on Dancing with the Stars after famously dropping his dance partner Krystal Stuart at the end of the pair's Cha-cha-cha.
Hide was joined in the honours by another Wellington stage performer, playwright and actor Jacob Rajan.
While the two had never met, and neither could be encouraged to dance together, it turns out Hide is a big fan of Rajan's writing and performance with the Indian Ink Theatre Company: ''I love your work, it's fabulous,'' Hide told Rajan, who received a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit medal for services to theatre.
Indian Ink productions gained a global reputation after the play Krishnan's Dairy won 1999 Edinburgh Fringe Festival's Fringe First Award.
Other popular plays include The Candlestickmaker, The Pickle King and the Guru of Chai, for which he was named actor of the year 2010 at the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards.
''I'm pretty chuffed. It's a big one,'' the one-time Shortland St actor and Arts Foundation Laureate said.
The reaction of his nieces and nephews to the award had been ''fantastic'' although it seems they were a bit perplexed: ''they loved it but were like what's it about?''
When receiving accolades Rajan said he always felt ''a little bit guilty'' because he was part of a company that included writing partner and Indian Ink co-founder Justin Lewis.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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