Kaitaia woman Shona Hobson QSM organised a small, informal lunch in Kaitaia in late 2011 for local people who had received Royal honours. The function was well received, but when it came to the second luncheon Ms Hobson set her sights a little higher.
She invited Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae, who said he could not be in Kaitaia in December, but he could be in Russell on February 3, immediately prior to his Treaty of Waitangi commemoration engagements.
So it was that close to 50 recipients of honours, ranging from the Queen's Birthday and New Year lists to St John and police decorations gathered at the Duke of Marlborough for luncheon with His Excellency and Lady Janine. And Sir Jerry made it clear that he was delighted to be there.
"It is a wonderful initiative to bring those who have been honoured by Her Majesty together to celebrate, and to acknowledge each other for the great work you have done," he said.
"Investiture ceremonies reflect the nature and character of the incumbent Governor-General, but they have in common the acknowledgment, thanking and congratulating of those who have provided outstanding services to New Zealanders and New Zealand.
"It is proper that that service not only be recognised at investiture but continually, reflecting the fact that your contributions have been made over time. It is also important because sometimes these (investitures) can be formal, staid, and nicely boring, but here you can share some of the stories of what brings you here and the people who supported you."
And there was no better place to do that than at the birthplace of the nation, "with this wonderful vista (of the Bay) behind us," Sir Jerry said.