All Blacks coach joins Order of Merit

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen with Governor-General Lt General Sir Jerry Mateparae, during his investiture at Government House in Wellington today. Photo / Mark Mitchell
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen with Governor-General Lt General Sir Jerry Mateparae, during his investiture at Government House in Wellington today. Photo / Mark Mitchell

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen's biggest reason for being in Wellington this week is to win a rugby test - but today he was also recognised for a game they won last year - the Rugby World Cup final.

Hansen was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to rugby at a ceremony presided over by Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae at Government House.

Dame Margaret Bazley was invested as a member of the Order of New Zealand - this country's highest honour - and former rugby league international and events organiser Dean Lonergan was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Hansen took over as All Blacks coach from Sir Graham Henry following last year's World Cup win and is preparing the team for Saturday night's Rugby Championship match against Argentina at Westpac Stadium.

"It's a huge honour and a reflection on what the team's achieved and you accept it with humbleness," Hansen said. "And it's a reflection too for your family.

All the sacrifices they've made over the years when dad's not there or a partner's not there and it's as much theirs' as it is mine."

It was a family affair in the Lonergan household, with Lonergan's son and parents in Wellington to witness him receive his award.

Lonergan is rarely lost for words - he hosts a sports radio show - but struggled to articulate what the honour meant to him.

"It's flattering and humbling," he said. "It's not something I expected. I'm very flattered that someone even spent the time to put in a nomination for me."

Lonergan played 11 tests for the Kiwis between 1985 and 1991 but has made more of a name for himself as an event organiser and estimated he has raised close to $5 million for charities.

He's arranging 26 events over the next 18 months, including visits by former US vice president Al Gore, golfer Greg Norman, former world tennis No 1 Andre Agassi and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay as well as the next instalment of the Fight for Life charity boxing event.

More than 130 people are receiving honours at investiture ceremonies at Government House this week.

- APNZ

Stats provided by

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a4 at 21 Apr 2014 14:44:51 Processing Time: 706ms