High-achieving business people were among the New Zealanders who received official insignia at today's investiture ceremony at Government House in Auckland.

Sir Stephen Tindall, the founder of The Warehouse, the Tindall Foundation and the family's $250 million seed and venture capital fund K1W1 which has invested in more than 200 start-ups, along with independent director and former ASB chief executive Barbara Chapman, who is also a director on the board of NZME - publisher of the Herald, were among this morning's accolade recipients.

Tindall, who has been involved in the business community for more than four decades following the inception of New Zealand's largest retailer The Warehouse in 1982, was appointed a Knight Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to business, the community and the environment.

"Getting the upgrade from the last knighthood to this special one is definitely the pinnacle," he said, adding that the accolade came after "45 years of hard work".


His proudest moment, after receiving the latest accolade, was to hear The Warehouse Group had become carbon neutral - one of only three retailers in the world to do so, he said.

"We've been moving towards trying to do stuff like that for a long, long time and finally we've got there. It's a long journey but more and more businesses now have to look really hard at doing it, and every individual in the country can make a difference."

Tindall said he would like to see other companies follow suit and a make a commitment to doing the same. "There obviously are some quite big sacrifices that you have to make and so you have to figure out how you can continue to do business and make a difference for the environment."

Tindall is no longer involved in the direct running of The Warehouse, he spends his days split between chair of Team New Zealand, philantrophy work with the Tindall Foundation, working with start-ups and keeping the Trees That Count programme on track to plant 200 million trees by the end of 2030.

Barbara Chapman this morning received insignia of a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services for business.

Chapman was formerly chief executive of ASB Bank, of which for a long time she was the only female CEO to lead one of New Zealand's largest banks. During her time at ASB Chapman oversaw the establishment of its Community Groups Assistance Grants programme and the Whakaterehia programme to encourage Maori representation in senior management.

She has also overseen support for the Dairy Women's Network, the annual Auckland Diwali and Lantern Festivals and the Springboard Trust, and was formerly chair of New Zealand Equal Employment Opportunities Trust and Oxfam New Zealand.

New Zealand Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy and Barbara Chapman. Photo / Supplied
New Zealand Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy and Barbara Chapman. Photo / Supplied

Chapman has been championing diversity and inclusion not only within ASB but with the company's she sits on the board of. She said today's recognition was only made possible by the people "working in the background" to help her get to the position where she could focus her attention on leadership, diversity and gender equality.


"This award celebrates the achievements that many people have made that I've been able to do - it's really special, a real priviledge," she said.

Chapman said she had always thought inequality was "inexcusable", which has driven her passion to change this. "That's what leaders should do; they should show how things can be better and make a difference for other people," she said. "I've always believed in the philosphy that a leader is there for other people and to bring the best out of other people - not the reverse."

Chapman is now involved in a number of directorships including on the board of NZME, Fletcher Building, IAG and Genesis. She is also doing work in the Prime Minister's Business Advisory Council.

American-born film and television producer Rob Tapert, who has lived in Auckland with his family for 22 years, today received insignia of a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to the film and television industries.

Rob Tapert, with New Zealand Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy, has been recognised for his services to the film and television industries. Photo / Supplied
Rob Tapert, with New Zealand Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy, has been recognised for his services to the film and television industries. Photo / Supplied

Tapert last year got his New Zealand citizenship after 26 years of travelling to and from the country for various entertainment business projects.

"I feel honoured and I feel slightly overwhelmed," he said. "I'm [now] part of a group of people who actually in their own way built a better community."

Tapert has been involved in New Zealand's screen industry since 1993, bringing projects into New Zealand from major production studios. He has produced a number of feature films and television shows including 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys', 'Xena' and 'Spartacus'.

'Hercules' and 'Xena' provided more than seven years of continuous employment to hundreds of people in the industry, including local actors and film crews.

His efforts for engaging New Zealanders as heads of departments on his productions under the production company Pacific Renaissance, and others, were acknowledged today, along with his efforts to keep post-production of projects within the country.

"New Zealand has been a wonderful place [to work]."

Tapert recently got involved with play production, including with musical production Pleasure Dome, and as a result of has become involved with companies doing ticketing and venue management. He now works with software company QED Software on set construction and venue management which has had huge success in New York.

Other New Zealanders who received insignia today included Gina Dellabarca for her services to the film industry, professor Alison Jones for services to education and sociology research, professor Tracey McIntosh for services to education and social science, Dr Susan Morton for services to epidemiology and public health research, Paul Spiller for services to chess, Jan O'Connor for services to local government and the community and reverend Penesikoto Togiatama for services to the Niuean community.