OPINION: New Year Honours - how often have we looked at the list of Sirs and Dames and thought: "What are they doing there?"
This year's selection looks to be an extra-good one, but there are obvious omissions.
Here is my selection of the biggest losers for 2013: Sir Will White and Sir Sergio Schuler
If you were asleep in the past few days or over-imbibing on the brown stuff, you probably have no idea who these two characters are.
Those of us who were awake, however, will agree entirely with these gongs.
Just 12 years old, Will and Sergio jumped into the raging surf to save a drowning man off the coast of Waihi a few days ago and have been described as heroes of the first order. For that, I salute Sir Will and Sir Sergio. Sir Kim Dotcom
I know he's not an official Kiwi, but why the heck not?
He will probably only go and change his name by deed poll to Sir Kim anyway.
For being larger than life, for filling up thousands of column centimetres in newspapers this year and next, for making our leaders look dicky and for maybe one day being a true, blue New Zealander with what can only be described as some valuable business nous, I salute you Sir Kim. Dame Hekia Parata
It will be controversial, I know, but how many of you can honestly say you would take on the job of minister of education at present?
Parata has had what most of us would describe as a year from hell, and there is plenty more to come if Prime Minister John Key doesn't "reshuffle" her in 2013.
Give the woman a break. I salute Dame Hekia. Sir Jim Hickey
For continually putting Taranaki on the map - literally, at times - Jim deserves an accolade.
Has anyone counted the number of times in 2012 that he screened an image of Taranaki on the TV One weather news? Did anyone note the number of times he especially mentioned Taranaki during his broadcasts?
For being a great Taranaki character, ambassador, cafe owner and generally a good bloke, I salute you, Sir Jim. Sir Martin Henderson
Does anyone else agree with me that former Shortland St actor Martin Henderson is one of the spunkiest Kiwis on screen?
Believe me when I tell you that only he and that guy who plays the Mentalist could talk me into abandoning my life and family, and they wouldn't have to even open their mouths. For being gorgeous and talented, I salute you, Sir Martin. Dame Charlotte Dawson
You might well be saying, "What?", but poor Kiwi expatriate television personality Charlotte Dawson has also had a terrible 2012 with her public cyber- bullying problem.
For giving me and countless mothers around the country an example to show our teenage daughters what not to do online, I salute you, Dame Charlotte. Sir Simon Dallow
Through thick and thin, turbulence, earthquakes and despair, Olympic Games 100-metre sprints, floods and famines, Simon Dallow never fails to present a solemn face to the nation five days a week, 45 weeks a year.
He well knows his face comforts us in times of trauma and his words soothe our tortured souls when nothing else helps. For being there on the TV at 6pm when we need him, I salute Sir Simon. Sir Jesse Ryder
The past 12 months have been a rich tapestry of sporting triumphs, but Jesse Ryder has again needed time to get his act together and I reckon he's finally cracked it.
Look at the scores he's been posting recently on the cricket field, and the things he's been saying sporadically to sports journalists that indicate things are on the up for this talented bloke.
I salute you, Sir Jesse. Sir Gerry Brownlee
I'm not sure why, but I feel sorry for Gerry Brownlee. Being the minister in charge of getting Christchurch back on its feet would not be an easy task in anyone's eyes, and he's been much maligned in the past 12 months for trying to make firm decisions about rebuilding his home town.
I wouldn't want to be you, so I salute you, Sir Gerry. Dame Valerie Adams
Imagine coming second to a drugs cheat in a difficult but true Olympic sport, then finding out you have actually won, but instead of getting your gold medal in front of the world, it's done in a shed festooned with bank branding on the Auckland waterfront with a weird mix of the public watching.
Would you feel cheated? For that, I salute Dame Val. Dame Toni Street
A Taranaki girl from head to toe, Toni Street has had a big 2012 and this year looks to be hers for the taking. A new baby, a new job and a new way of life await her.
Let's hope she doesn't find the gruelling hours too much, as have other female presenters who have gone before her on Breakfast.
Dame Toni, you're a star. Sir David Shearer
Did you see those leadership poll results a few days ago? Ouch! David Shearer is still having difficulty getting traction with voters and needs some good news to start 2013. Sir David, arise. Sir Tamati Coffey
He is going to be missed by many on our television screens in the early-morning hours this year, but will be travelling around the world flashing that brilliant smile and predicting the weather for audiences anew. Lucky them.
I salute Sir Tamati. Sir Daniel Vettori
OK, so he can play cricket, but that's not all Daniel Vettori has done for this country's people. He has made wearing glasses and having a massive, shaggy beard OK and, as someone who is shortsighted and has unwanted facial hair, I reckon that deserves a gong. Good on you, Sir Daniel. Dame Paige Hareb
Does anyone know a sportswoman who seems to glow like this one? Paige Hareb always presents a positive image. She is hardworking, high-achieving in a world where a change in toe-hold makes the difference between success and failure, and a great role model for young women.
And she is one of us! Dame Paige, I hope you never have to publicly ask for funding again.
- Taranaki Daily News
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