Queen's Service Medal

As a primary school student, George Bryant decided his life's mission was to help people.

Today, his decades of work towards that mission have been recognised with a Queen's Service Medal for services to publishing and the community.

The Christian publishing pioneer has lived in Welcome Bay, Tauranga, for 19 years and is best known locally for his work as a pastor, JP and the prolific author of some 40-plus non-fiction titles.

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Before moving to the Bay, the father of two spent 33 years in education including 15 as the principal of Whangarei Girls' High School. He was also a two-term a councillor on the Whangārei City Council, president of the New Zealand Social Credit Party, founder of a not-for-profit Christian publishing company and held leadership roles with Rotary, World Vision and Birthright New Zealand.

"I am honoured and excited. It's nice to be recognised after all these years," Bryant said of his New Year honour.

"There were tears in my eye when I told my kids."

Bryant said his work had always been "on the fringes", challenging the mainstream thinking of the day.

Whether that was being a man leading an all-girls school or tackling big social issues in his literary works; poverty, racism and - coming in 2019 - the meaning of life on Earth.

"I have always believed you can change society with the written word."

He said his best sellers had always been stories about inspirational Kiwis.

Bryant said the two greatest influences in his life had been his Christian faith and his wife of 53 years, Joan Bryant.