Lynne Bowe hopes her Queen's Service Medal will bring diabetes into the spotlight.
Mrs Bowe, a registered nurse who retired to Taupo in February with her husband, has been awarded the medal for her services to people with diabetes.
She has spent the past 30 years focused on people with the disease _ both treating them and working in diabetes education, which she said had been incredibly rewarding.
"It's really nice to be in the education area, at the top of the cliff rather than the ambulance at the bottom,'' she said.
"It's a manageable condition if people take on board properly to do something about it.''
Mrs Bowe spent the early stages of her career working with noted researcher professor Sir Don Beaven in Christchurch before moving to Auckland and the role of diabetes nurse educator for Diabetes NZ Auckland Inc, running courses for the newly-diagnosed on how to manage their disease.
She established clinics in Auckland, including one specialising in erectile dysfunction, a complication of diabetes not addressed by the public health system in the city at the time.
She also volunteered for and served on the board of Diabetes NZ Auckland Inc, including four years as its chairwoman.
Mrs Bowe said she was grateful to be recognised with the honour, despite usually preferring to stay in the background.
"I'm happy to accept it as it brings diabetes into the spotlight,'' she said. "There are so many people out there doing such great work [in diabetes] ... I accept it on behalf of them.''
After being sworn to secrecy for about six weeks _ "a long time for me to keep a secret'' _ Mrs Bowe will finally be able to tell her children and friends her big news today and a party is planned when the family is next together. In the meantime, she's enjoying her first full summer in Taupo.
"We're loving it here ... why would you need to live in Auckland?''