New knight from North

By Mike Barrington

Northland has a new knight, with politician diplomat Lockwood Smith given the award in the Queen's Birthday Honours for his services as an MP and as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

And, unlike Rugby Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens and Queenstown businessman John Davies, who will also receive knighthoods, Sir Lockwood has been rubbing shoulders with the monarch who lines her subjects up for the ceremonial dubbing and presentation of insignia showing they are Knights - or Dames, the female equivalent - Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

He has met the Queen three times since moving to London and beginning his four-year term as New Zealand High Commissioner to the United Kingdom on March 25.

Sir Lockwood said it was really humbling to be ranked among those who had received the honour before him.

He is the most distinguished politician to emerge from the small Kaipara Harbour settlement of Matakohe since Gordon Coates, who was Prime Minister from 1925-28.

Descended from the Smith and McLaren families, Sir Lockwood's great-grandparents first migrated to Canada and then to New Zealand from Scotland, arriving in 1862 as part of the pioneer Albertland colony which settled at Port Albert south of Matakohe.

He is one of four children of the late David and Heather Smith.

Before entering politics he lectured at Massey University, worked as a presenter for television quiz shows and was marketing manager for the Dairy Board.

Dr Smith was elected MP for Kaipara in 1984. From 1996 he was MP for Rodney until becoming a National Party list member in 2011.

He was unanimously elected Speaker in 2008 and 2011.

During the 1990s he held ministerial portfolios for education, agriculture, international trade, forestry and tourism. He was also a Deputy Finance Minister.

A trained singer, he has staged charity concerts.

In 2009 he married Alexandra Laing in the Legislative Chamber in Parliament.

Sir Lockwood, who will turn 65 in November, said from London he would be happy to retire to Matakohe when his term as high commissioner ends in 2017.

He has a manager overseeing his 364ha farm there, but handles finances and stock breeding online.


- Northern Advocate

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