A former mayor who championed innovative ways to get youth into work says he may have retired, but still has some unfinished business.
Dale Williams served for three terms as Mayor of Otorohanga.
He started in local politics as a member of the Otorohanga Community Board in 1995, and served as the town's mayor from 2004 until his retirement in October.
As mayor, his passion was jobs for youth, establishing a Waikato Institute of Technology trade training centre in the town in 2005, and leading the Mayor's Taskforce for Jobs.
He worked with businesses to ensure the centre's courses met their needs for skilled labour, and that they would in turn provide jobs.
Otorohanga has consistently achieved the lowest registered youth unemployment rate since 2006.
Mr Williams said that in recent years, his focus had been developing initiatives to deliver similar results for communities around New Zealand.
"There's still unfinished business there which I want to focus on when I return after some family time recharging my batteries."
He said from Istanbul, where he and his family are on an "extended overseas adventure", that being named in the New Year list was an incredible honour. "I've had the privilege of working alongside many passionate people. I'm very grateful to them all."
Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to local government and youth.