Olympic gold medal winner Lisa Carrington took a rare day off from kayak training to accept an honour from the Governor-General today.
The 24-year-old was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to kayaking at an investiture ceremony at Government House in Wellington today.
"Coming here today and getting the honour, it's really special - and to be here with other New Zealanders is such an awesome thing as well.
"I took a day off training to come down here," she said.
A long list of Carrington's achievements were read out during the ceremony, including her London Games gold medal for the K1 200m event, which set an Olympic record; and that she was the first New Zealand woman to win a canoeing World Championship.
At the 2012 Oceania Canoe Championships she won gold in the K-1 200m and gold with her partner Erin Taylor in the K-2 500m.
Carrington was also named Maori Senior Sports Woman of the year in 2011 and was a finalist for the 2012 Halberg Sportswoman of the Year.
In accepting the insignia for the MNZM, Governor-General Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae joked to Carrington he thought a few kayaking accolades might have been missing from the list.
Carrington's parents and boyfriend had travelled from Auckland and Ohope to Wellington for today's event.
"They're all really proud," she said.
After the ceremony, she said she was now focused on getting to the Olympics in Rio in 2016.
"And we've got the world champs in August this year, so we keep on trucking on and each year is just a step towards Rio."
There was pressure on her to make the Olympic team, she said.
"I'm doing this for myself and my family and obviously (for the) country, so it is a pressure, but I want to do that and it's a great goal for me to have and...I'm enjoying every minute of it."
Carrington has been named as an athlete role model at the Youth Olympics and will be heading to China in August to be an ambassador for the International Canoe Federation.
She was the only canoeist to be named in the role.
"It's really cool and I'm really excited to see the young up and coming athletes."