Adventure tourism and bungy pioneer Allan 'A.J.' Hackett was today being welcomed into the New Zealand Order of Merit.

The investiture ceremony was held this afternoon at Government House in Wellington.

Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy said it was an honour to welcome the recipients of today's honours.

"Today's recipients have enriched our communities, and the country as a whole, with their efforts."


Hackett was made an officer of the order for services to adventure tourism, and smiled widely as Dame Patsy pinned the badge to his lapel.

He pioneered the modern form of bungy jumping, even developing the modern elastic bungy cord.

Hackett opened the first fulltime commercial bungy site in Queenstown, and has since exported it to countries including Australia, Indonesia, China, the US, Russia, and Singapore.

He also brought in stringent safety standards that created a base for regulating the industry across the world.

Hackett said it was "pretty special" to think his bungy business was inspirational to the people of New Zealand.

"It took a lot of tenacity and logic.

"I've been really honoured to have my friend Henry [van Asch] and my sister to help me keep the whole programme together, not only in New Zealand but all over the world.

"It's really those ingredients, good Kiwi people, tenacity, and it all works.


"And fun, of course."

As well as his business efforts, his charitable giving was recognised.

Hackett has made extensive donations, with many of his sites internationally supporting not-for-profit organisations.

He's also personally supported snow sport athletes, and young entrepreneurs in NZ.

"I think a big part of what we do is help people challenge themselves, and look beyond some of the limitations they put on themselves.

"Sport's just so important for challenge and getting on in life.

"Taking the knocks with the wins. It's about getting up again and again, when you don't reach where you think you might go."

Hackett said he would celebrate today's honour by going out for dinner with his family, and "drinking some good New Zealand wine".

He's one of 19 people who received honours this afternoon, for services including health, education, and the arts.