The Black Ferns captain Fiao‘o Fa‘amausili, veteran equestrian Andrew Nicholson and netballer Tracey Fear are among the sports people acknowledged in the Queen‘s Birthday Honours lists.
Fa‘amausili, Nicholson, Fear, athletics coach Kirsten Hellier and Paralympics Chief Executive Fiona Allan have all been made Officers of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
Fa‘amausili has captained the Black Ferns since 2012 and is the most capped player with 52 caps. She has played at five World Cups.
She has balanced her rugby career against he career with the New Zealand Police since 2010.
Fa‘amausili says her team-mates have played a key role in her career.
“Being a team sport I kind of thought I was blessed to be acknowledged and honoured for stuff that I‘ve worked alongside all these girls and created this opportunity with and for me as well so very excited, very humbled and privileged to receive such an honour.
Women‘s Javelin pioneer Kirsten Hellier says after being inducted into the Queen‘s birthday honours lists her biggest achievement has been that as a coach rather than a Commonwealth Games silver medallist.
Hellier has won two coach of the year awards at the prestigous Halberg Awards coaching numerous athletes to titles and representations, notably coaching and mentoring Dame Valerie Adams between 1998 and 2010 which Hellier recognises as a career highlight.
“Without a doubt seeing Val win her first Olympic gold in Beijing was really special and that was the culmination of three or four years of really hard work… that‘s the greatest thing about coaching you get to see people achieve things that they may not have ever dreamed that they could do.
Equestrian Andrew Nicholson says doing a job that he is passionate about means being honoured by the country makes him very proud.
56 year old Nicholson, who has lived in the UK for 35 years, first competed at the Olympics in 1984.
He was selected for seven Olympics and has competed in six.
“Very lucky to have a job that I‘m passionate about and love doing. It‘s not quite up with winning Badminton or winning Burghley three times in a row but it‘s up there very much and to be recognised for the sport I do makes me feel very very proud.”
Among those to become a Member of the New Zealand Order of merit are triathlete Andrea Hewitt, former Black Ferns coach Darryl Suasua, Kiwi Fern Laura Mariu, former Black Fern Rochelle Martin, rugby historian Clive Akers and rugby broadcaster Grant Nisbett.
Hewitt first competed in triathlon in 2005 where she became the Under-23 world champion, since then she‘s competed at countless international triathlon competitions, two Commonwealth Games claiming 2 bronze medals and has competed at three Olympic games.
36 year old Hewitt says it was an honour to receive the letter toward the end of what has been a successful career.
“I have been around for a long time, and was just at my old primary school and I started triathlon before those kids were born so it‘s been over ten years and so it maybe nearing the end of my career, but I‘m still competing this year so I‘ve got that to look forward to.”