Waikato service honoured
A respected orchid guru, a mayor, and King Tuheitia's private secretary are among Waikato recipients of Queen's Birthday honours.
Rukuhia resident Jim James was given a Queen's Service Medal for his services to orchid growing.
Waikato district mayor Peter Harris was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, as was Puahaere Rutene, secretary to King Tuheitia and Dame TeAtairangikaahu for 16 years.
The major national gong went to Olympic running legend John Walker who received a knighthood.
Magic and Silver Fern netball player Irene van Dyk became a MNZM.
Mr James, 87, has been a pioneer of orchid growing in New Zealand and is is now patron of the Waikato Orchid Society he helped form 50 years ago.
He has written three specialist books on growing orchids in New Zealand and added much to the fabric of society with his specialist knowledge about a highly evolved plant.
But a humble Mr Jones was one of the more reluctant recipients of the 172 people honoured nationwide today.
"I don't deserve it compared to those people that do social service," he said. "I feel honoured, but I must have friends in high places."
Mayor Harris, in his 17th year on council, was honoured for services to local body affairs and rugby with the New Zealand Order of Merit.
"I'm delighted with the progress of this council and if it is recognition of that, then that is excellent," he said.
Mr Harris, who also refereed rugby for 13 years, as well as coaching, playing and administering, said he intended retiring as mayor at the end of his current term.
Despite a huge input in community life, he remained a farmer at heart.
Mrs Rutene is a recognised expert in Maori culture and Tainui protocol and has been honoured for her services to Maori and netball, where she has also held a number of posts.
Mary Balzer, a longstanding nurse, educator and senior manager, was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to Maori health.
Ms Balzer is the chief executive of the Te Runanga O Kirikiriroa trust, the urban Maori authority for Hamilton.
National Fieldays Society board member Errol Baldwin was another to collect the New Zealand Order of Merit, for a wide variety of community roles over a 40-year span.
Bob Tukiri, a Huntly Community Board member for more than 35 years, was honoured for his services to the community.
Mr Tukiri formed the Huntly Maori wardens, and is honorary kaumatua.
Taumarunui's Ngarua Tarawa, chief executive of Te Waka Pu Whenua, was honoured for her services to Maori and community education.
Tokoroa's Emare Nikora, the first te reo news announcer in the region and pioneer of its first iwi Maori radio station, was given a Queen's Service Medal (QSM) for services to Maori.
Former St Peter's School headmaster Peter Parr was honoured with a QSM for service to the community in his work as a Rotary administrator of over 20 years.
Jim Wetere, respected manager of the Enderley Community Centre and a pillar of grassroots rugby administration in Hamilton, received a QSM for services to the community.
Others to be given a Queen's Service Medal included Desmond Jack, a Hamilton Rotary Club member since 1975, Taupo historic site restorer Trevor Hosking, Hamilton's Habitat For Humanity volunteer Shirley Caspari and Keith Crate, event director for the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge for 15 years.
Whitianga's Murray Carey was given a QSM for his services to brass bands and soccer. Mr Carey is a life member of the Auckland Brass Band and has refereed soccer in Auckland for more than 30 years.
Taupo's Leslie Winslade, a Scout master and jamboree leader and Lions Club district co-ordinator of the used spectacles collection, was given a QSM for community services.