Order of New Zealand

The Order of New Zealand is the highest honour in New Zealand's royal honours system, created "to recognise outstanding service to the Crown and people of New Zealand in a civil or military capacity". It was instituted by royal warrant of 6 February 1987. The order is modelled on the British Order of Merit and Order of the Companions of Honour.[1]

Order of New Zealand
Badge of the Order of New Zealand
Awarded by Sovereign of New Zealand
EligibilityCitizens of New Zealand
Awarded forOutstanding service to the Crown and people of New Zealand in a civil or military capacity
StatusCurrently constituted
SovereignQueen Elizabeth II
GradesMember (ONZ)
First induction6 February 1987
Last induction30 December 2017
Total inductees42 Ordinary members
18 Additional members
2 Honorary members
Next (higher)Order of Merit
Next (lower)New Zealand Order of Merit
Order of New Zealand ribbon

Ribbon of the Order of New Zealand


The order comprises the Sovereign and ordinary, additional and honorary members. The ordinary membership is limited to 20 living members, and at any time there may be fewer than 20. Additional members may be appointed to commemorate important royal, state or national occasions, and such appointments were made in 1990 for the 150th anniversary of the Treaty of Waitangi, in 2002 for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, in 2007 for the 20th anniversary of the institution of the Order, and in 2012 for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Honorary membership is for citizens of nations of which the Sovereign is not head of state.[1] Members are entitled to the post-nominal letters "ONZ".

Appointments to the order are made by royal warrant under the monarch's sign manual on the prime minister’s advice. The order is administered by a Secretary and Registrar, (the Clerk of the Executive Council).


The insignia is made up of an oval medallion of the Arms of New Zealand in gold and coloured enamel, worn on a white and ochre ribbon around the neck for men or a bow for women on their left shoulder.

Current members

Member number Name Known for Date of appointment Age
Ordinary members
1 New Zealand Dame Miriam Dell ONZ DBE JP Women's welfare 6 February 1993 95
2 New Zealand Dame Kiri Te Kanawa ONZ CH DBE AC Opera singer 17 June 1995 75
3 New Zealand Sir Miles Warren ONZ KBE Architect 17 June 1995 89–90
4 New Zealand Jim Bolger ONZ Former Prime Minister of New Zealand 31 December 1997 84
5 New Zealand Ken Douglas ONZ Trade union leader 31 December 1998 83
6 New Zealand Mike Moore ONZ Former Prime Minister of New Zealand 31 December 1999 70
7 New Zealand Cardinal Tom Williams ONZ CStJ Emeritus Catholic Archbishop of Wellington 5 June 2000 89
8 New Zealand Jonathan Hunt ONZ Former Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives 31 December 2004 80
9 New Zealand Sir Lloyd Geering ONZ GNZM CBE Theologian 30 December 2006 101
10 New Zealand Sir Kenneth Keith ONZ KBE QC Judge of International Court of Justice 4 June 2007 81
11 United Kingdom New Zealand Sir Don McKinnon ONZ GCVO Former Commonwealth Secretary-General 31 December 2007 80
12 New Zealand Sir Murray Halberg ONZ MBE Olympic runner 2 June 2008 86
13 New Zealand Helen Clark ONZ SSI Former Prime Minister of New Zealand 31 December 2009 69
14 New Zealand Sir Bob Charles ONZ KNZM CBE Golfer 31 December 2010 83
15 Samoa New Zealand Albert Wendt ONZ CNZM Writer 3 June 2013 79
16 New Zealand Sir Ron Carter ONZ KNZM Business 2 June 2014 84
17 New Zealand Sir Peter Gluckman ONZ KNZM Science 1 June 2015 69–70
18 New Zealand Richard Hugh McCaw ONZ Rugby union 31 December 2015 38
19 New Zealand Joy Cowley ONZ DCNZM OBE Writer 30 December 2017 83
20 Vacant
Additional members
1 Australia Michael Duffy ONZ Former Attorney-General of Australia 6 February 1990 81
2 New Zealand Dame Catherine Tizard ONZ GCMG GCVO DBE QSO DStJ Former Governor-General of New Zealand 3 June 2002 88
3 New Zealand Christian Karlson Stead ONZ CBE Writer 6 February 2007 86
4 Royal Standard of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.svg The Duke of Edinburgh KG KT OM GCVO ONZ GBE AK QSO PC Consort to the Monarch of New Zealand 4 June 2012 98
5 New Zealand Dame Margaret Bazley ONZ DNZM Distinguished New Zealand public servant 4 June 2012 81
6 New Zealand Sir Peter Jackson ONZ KNZM Film director 4 June 2012 57
7 New Zealand Dame Malvina Major ONZ GNZM DBE Opera singer 4 June 2012 76
Honorary members
1 Guyana Sir Shridath Ramphal OE GCMG OM AC QC Former Commonwealth Secretary-General 6 February 1990 90
  • Officers:
    • Secretary and Registrar: Michael L. C. Webster.[2][3]

Deceased members

Country Name Date of appointment Date of death Known for
Ordinary members
1[n 1] New Zealand Sir Arnold Nordmeyer 6 February 1987 2 February 1989 Minister of Finance
2 New Zealand Clarence Edward Beeby 6 February 1987 10 March 1998 Educationalist
3 New Zealand Dame Te Atairangikaahu 6 February 1987 15 August 2006 Māori Queen (Kīngitanga)
4 New Zealand Sir Edmund Hillary 6 February 1987 11 January 2008 First official ascent of Mount Everest with Tenzing Norgay in 1953
5 New Zealand Sonja Davies 6 February 1987 12 June 2005 Trade union leader and politician
6 New Zealand Jim Knox 6 February 1988 1 December 1991 Trade union leader
7 New Zealand Frederick Turnovsky 6 February 1988 12 December 1994 Manufacturer and arts leader
8 New Zealand Richard Matthews[4] 6 February 1988 19 February 1995 Microbiologist
9 New Zealand Douglas Lilburn 6 February 1988 6 June 2001 Composer
10 New Zealand June, Lady Blundell 6 February 1988[5] 31 October 2012 Viceregal consort of New Zealand
11 New Zealand Manuhuia Bennett 6 February 1989 20 December 2001 Anglican bishop
12 New Zealand Henry Lang 6 February 1989 17 April 1997 Economist
13 New Zealand Dame Whina Cooper 15 June 1991 26 March 1994 Māori leader
14 New Zealand John Somerville 15 June 1991 5 October 1999 Presbyterian leader
15 New Zealand Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan 6 February 1993 20 July 2011 Politician
16 New Zealand Margaret Mahy 6 February 1993 23 July 2012 Children's author
17 New Zealand Sir Thaddeus McCarthy 6 February 1994 11 April 2001 President of the Court of Appeal
18 New Zealand Sir Roy McKenzie 17 June 1995 1 September 2007 Philanthropist
19 New Zealand Sir James Fletcher 2 June 1997 29 August 2007 Industrialist
20 New Zealand Ivan Lichter 2 June 1997 15 June 2009 Surgeon
21 New Zealand Cliff Whiting 31 December 1998 16 July 2017 Artist
22 New Zealand Alan MacDiarmid 31 December 2001 7 February 2007 Chemist, Nobel laureate
23 New Zealand David Lange 2 June 2003 13 August 2005 Prime Minister
24 New Zealand Dame Doreen Blumhardt 30 December 2006 17 October 2009 Ceramicist
25 New Zealand Ralph Hotere 31 December 2011 24 February 2013 Artist
Additional members
1 New Zealand Sir Guy Powles 6 February 1990 24 October 1994 Public servant and diplomat
2 New Zealand Allen Curnow 6 February 1990 23 September 2001 Poet
3 Royal Standard of Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother.svg United Kingdom Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother 6 February 1990 30 March 2002
4 New Zealand Janet Frame 6 February 1990 29 January 2004 Author
5 New Zealand Arthur Lydiard 6 February 1990 11 December 2004 Athletics coach
6 New Zealand Dame Ann Ballin 3 June 2002 2 September 2003 Psychologist
7 New Zealand The Lord Cooke of Thorndon 3 June 2002 30 August 2006 Jurist
8 New Zealand Sir Hugh Kāwharu 3 June 2002 19 September 2006 Māori leader
9 New Zealand Sir Paul Reeves 6 February 2007 14 August 2011 Anglican bishop and governor-general
10 New Zealand Sir Owen Woodhouse 6 February 2007 15 April 2014 Jurist
11 New Zealand Sir Brian Lochore 6 February 2007 3 August 2019 Rugby union
Honorary members
1 New Zealand United States Bill Pickering 2 June 2003 15 March 2004 Rocket scientist


  1. ^ The number shown is the individual's place in the wider order of appointment since the Order of New Zealand's inception.


  1. ^ a b "The Order of New Zealand". Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
  2. ^ Appointed 18 March 2014 to the office of Secretary and Registrar of The Queen's Service Order, The Order of New Zealand, and The New Zealand Order of Merit, during Her Majesty's pleasure, in place of Rebecca Lucy Kitteridge, CVO
  3. ^ The Queen's Service Order / The Order of New Zealand / The New Zealand Order of Merit (28 April 2014) 44 New Zealand Gazette 1263 at 1287.
  4. ^ "Richard Matthews". New Zealand Microbiological Society. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  5. ^ "ONZ Biographical Notes". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 1 November 2012.

External links

2007 Special Honours (New Zealand)

The 2007 Special Honours in New Zealand was a Special Honours List, published on 6 February 2007, in which four appointments of additional members were made to the Order of New Zealand. The appointments were made by Elizabeth II in her right as Queen of New Zealand, on the advice of the New Zealand government, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Order.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour.

Albert Wendt

Albert Tuaopepe Wendt (born 27 August 1939) is a Samoan poet and writer who lives in New Zealand. Among his works is Leaves of the Banyan Tree, published in 1979.

Arnold Nordmeyer

Sir Arnold Henry Nordmeyer (7 February 1901 – 2 February 1989), born Heinrich Arnold Nordmeyer, was a New Zealand politician. He served as Minister of Finance (1957–1960) and later as Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition (1963–1965).

Arthur Lydiard

Arthur Leslie Lydiard (6 July 1917 – 11 December 2004) was a New Zealand runner and athletics coach. He has been lauded as one of the outstanding athletics coaches of all time and is credited with popularising the sport of running and making it commonplace across the sporting world. His training methods are based on a strong endurance base and periodisation.

Lydiard competed in the Men's Marathon at the 1950 British Empire Games in Auckland, coming twelfth with a time of 2h:54m:51.6s.Lydiard presided over New Zealand's golden era in world track and field during the 1960s sending Murray Halberg, Peter Snell and Barry Magee to the podium at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. Under Lydiard's tutelage Snell went on to double-gold at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Athletes subsequently coached by him or influenced by his coaching methods included such luminaries as Rod Dixon, John Walker, Dick Quax and Dick Tayler.

In the 1962 New Year Honours, Lydiard was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, for services to sport. On 6 February 1990, Lydiard was the 17th appointee to the Order of New Zealand, New Zealand's highest civil honour. He also became a life member of Athletics New Zealand in 2003.

Arthur Lydiard died 11 December 2004 of a suspected heart attack, in Texas, while on a lecture tour.

Bill Pickering (rocket scientist)

William Hayward "Bill" Pickering (24 December 1910 – 15 March 2004) was a New Zealand-born rocket scientist who headed Pasadena, California's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for 22 years, retiring in 1976. He was a senior NASA luminary and pioneered the exploration of space. Pickering was also a founding member of the United States National Academy of Engineering.

Bob Charles (golfer)

Sir Robert James Charles (born 14 March 1936) is a New Zealand professional golfer. His achievements over five decades rank him among the most successful left-handed golfers of all time, being the first lefty to win a golf major, winning more than 70 titles, and beating his age twice during a tournament as a 71-year-old.

Although Charles plays golf left-handed, he is naturally right-handed.

C. K. Stead

Christian Karlson "Karl" Stead (born 17 October 1932) is a New Zealand writer whose works include novels, poetry, short stories, and literary criticism.One of Karl Stead's novels, Smith's Dream, provided the basis for the film Sleeping Dogs, starring Sam Neill; this became the first New Zealand film released in the United States. Mansfield: A Novel was a finalist for the 2005 Tasmania Pacific Fiction Prize and received commendation in the 2005 Commonwealth Writers Prize for the South East Asia and South Pacific region. He won the 2010 Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award for 'Last Season’s Man'.C. K. Stead was born in Auckland. For much of his career he was Professor of English at the University of Auckland, retiring in 1986 to write full-time. He received a CBE in 1985 and was admitted into the highest honour New Zealand can bestow, the Order of New Zealand in 2007. In August 2015, he was named the New Zealand Poet Laureate for 2015 to 2017.To celebrate the conclusion of CK Stead's term as Poet Laureate, the Alexander Turnbull Library published a signed, limited edition book of his work called In the mirror, and dancing. The little volume of poems was hand-pressed by Brendan O'Brien and illustrated with line sketches by New Zealand expatriate artist Douglas MacDiarmid. The book was launched on 8 August 2017 in Wellington, with the assistance of Gregory O'Brien. On 25 August 2017, Pasifika poet-scholar Dr Selina Tusitala Marsh was named the New Zealand Poet Laureate for 2017-2019.

Douglas Lilburn

Douglas Gordon Lilburn (2 November 1915 – 6 June 2001) was a New Zealand composer.

Ivan Lichter

Ivan Lichter, ONZ, FRCS (14 March 1918 – 12 June 2009) was a thoracic surgeon and a pioneer in the field of palliative care in New Zealand. He was appointed to the Order of New Zealand, the country's highest honour and limited to 20 living people, on 2 June 1997.

Jim Knox

Walter James Knox (6 March 1919 – 1 December 1991) was a leading New Zealand trade union leader. He was born in Auckland, New Zealand on 6 March 1919Knox worked as a truck driver and watersider, becoming involved in the 1951 waterside strike, and rose through the union ranks to become secretary of the Auckland District Woollen Mills Employees’ Union and vice president of the Auckland Trades Council in 1961. In 1969, Knox became secretary of the New Zealand Federation of Labour, working alongside the organisation’s president, Sir Tom Skinner.

On 6 February 1988, Knox was the seventh appointee to The Order of New Zealand.

Jonathan Hunt (New Zealand politician)

Jonathan Lucas Hunt (born 2 December 1938) is a New Zealand politician, and was New Zealand's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom from 2005 to March 2008. He formerly served as Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives. He is a member of the Labour Party, and was until recently the longest-serving MP in Parliament. Hunt is a member of the Order of New Zealand, New Zealand's highest civilian honour. Hunt was given the nickname the "Minister for Wine and Cheese" after his well-known liking of the combo.

Michael Duffy (Australian politician)

Michael John Duffy (born 2 March 1938), Australian politician, was an Australian Labor Party member of the Australian House of Representatives for the Division of Holt from 1980 to 1996. He was Minister for Communications from 1983 to 1987, Minister for Trade Negotiations from 1987 to 1990 and the Attorney-General from 1990 to 1993.

On 6 February 1990, in recognition of work on the Closer Economic Relations agreement between Australia and New Zealand Duffy was the first Australian and fifteenth appointee to The Order of New Zealand.He retired from politics prior to the 1996 election.

Duffy is currently the chairman of the board of directors for Racing Victoria Limited.

Murray Halberg

Sir Murray Gordon Halberg (born 7 July 1933) is a New Zealand former middle distance runner who won the gold medal in the 5000 metres event at the 1960 Olympics. He also won gold medals in the 3 miles events at the 1958 and 1962 Commonwealth Games. He has worked for the welfare of children with disabilities since he founded the Halberg Trust in 1963.

New Zealand Order of Merit

The New Zealand Order of Merit is an order of merit in New Zealand's honours system. It was established by royal warrant on 30 May 1996 by Elizabeth II, Queen of New Zealand, "for those persons who in any field of endeavour, have rendered meritorious service to the Crown and nation or who have become distinguished by their eminence, talents, contributions or other merits", to recognise outstanding service to the Crown and people of New Zealand in a civil or military capacity.

In the order of precedence, the New Zealand Order of Merit ranks immediately after the Order of New Zealand.

Ralph Hotere

Hone Papita Raukura "Ralph" Hotere (11 August 1931 – 24 February 2013) was a New Zealand artist of Māori descent (Te Aupōuri and Te Rarawa). He was born in Mitimiti, Northland and is widely regarded as one of New Zealand's most important artists. In 1994 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Otago and in 2003 received an Icon Award from the Arts Foundation of New Zealand.

In the 2012 New Year Honours, Hotere was appointed to the Order of New Zealand for services to New Zealand.

Richard Matthews (microbiologist)

Richard Ellis Ford Matthews (20 November 1921 – 19 February 1995) was a New Zealand plant virologist.

Sonja Davies

Sonja Margaret Loveday Davies (née Vile, 11 November 1923 – 12 June 2005) was a New Zealand trade unionist, peace campaigner, and Member of Parliament. On 6 February 1987 Davies was the third appointee to the Order of New Zealand.

Thomas Williams (cardinal)

Thomas Stafford Williams ONZ ChStJ (born 20 March 1930) is a cardinal in the Catholic church and before his retirement in 2005 the fifth Archbishop of Wellington.

Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan

Tini "Whetu" Marama Tirikatene-Sullivan (9 January 1932 – 20 July 2011) was a New Zealand politician. She was an MP from 1967 to 1996, representing the Labour Party. At the time of her retirement, she was the second longest-serving MP in Parliament, being in her tenth term of office. She was one of twenty holders of the Order of New Zealand, the highest honour of the country.

Members of the Order of New Zealand


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