Hamilton had seven representatives on this year's New Years honour list, including current city councillor Margaret Forsyth, former Silver Ferns captain Laura Langman, and NZ rugby league player Honey Hireme.

They were joined by Hamiltonians Dr Michael Edward Matthews (Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit), Dr Harvey Eshkol Indyk (Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit), Professor Warwick Bruce Silvester (Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit), and Donald William Scarlet (Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit).

Margaret Forsyth was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her contributions to netball as a national representative player, coach and selector since the 1970s, and her services on Hamilton City Council.

Ms Forsyth won two Netball World Championships with the Silver Ferns in 1979 and 1987 and at 17 was the youngest New Zealander to compete at a Netball World Championship.
She played 64 tests with the Silver Ferns, while she was also head coach of the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic netball team in 2017 and 2018.

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Ms Forsyth said receiving the award was a special moment for herself.

"It does take you back to look over your past," Ms Forsyth said in a Radio Sport interview. "When this award was offered to me it does put in to perspective those times, achievements and the people you shared those moments with."

She is serving a third term as a Hamilton City councillor. Ms Forsyth led a stakeholder group that created Hamilton's Biking Plan and was a major driver for the Destination Playgroup working group, establishing bespoke playgrounds for diverse communities in the city.

"It has been a privilege to be elected by the people that you live with and I see it as the ultimate in community services."

 Honey Hireme has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Photo / Supplied
Honey Hireme has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Photo / Supplied

New Zealand rugby league player Honey Hireme has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to rugby league.

Ms Hireme first played for the New Zealand Women's Rugby League team, the Kiwi Ferns, in 2002. She has appeared in four Rugby League World Cups, was named most valuable player at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, and was highest try scorer of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

She was named New Zealand Rugby League Women's Player of the Year in 2007, 2012 and 2017. She is the current captain of the Kiwi Ferns, recently leading them to victory against Fetu Samoa in June 2019.

"This tops off 2019 which was one of the challenging years I've had to face, from winning the World Cup, to losing my Mum," she told Radio Sport.

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Ms Hireme lost her mother during 2019 to a terminal form of cancer.

"The award itself is all about giving back, and that is a huge quality that I did get from my Mum who was a huge selfless person. I credit this all back to my family and my parents for 100 per cent supporting me from day one."

Ms Hireme said she now has a passion to help and inspire younger people to reach their goals. "The last few years have been a driving force for me to get more girls coming through and acknowledge the past players so they know about the pathway that was laid for them."

Another netballer, Laura Langman, was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

She has played netball at national and international level since her selection into the U21 New Zealand netball team at age 16.

Ms Langman captained the U21 team to win the World Youth Cup title in 2005. She made her elite netball debut with the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic in the National Bank Cup in 2003. In 2005 and 2006, she won two premierships with the Magic and placed second at the ANZ Championship in 2008.

Laura Langman has been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Photo / Photosport
Laura Langman has been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Photo / Photosport

She captained the Magic for the 2010 ANZ Championship and captained the Magic to the trans-Tasman title in 2012, the only New Zealand team to win the title. She captained the Silver Ferns to win the 2019 Netball World Cup, having played in the preceding 2007, 2011 and 2015 World Cups. She became New Zealand's first netballer to surpass 150 Test Caps in 2019. She won Commonwealth Gold Medals with the Silver Ferns in 2006 and 2010 and Silver at the 2014 Games.

"I was pretty shocked at receiving this award, but I'm incredibly humbled," Ms Langman told Radio Sport.

"I owe a lot to the players and support staff that I was drafted too at the time, and I was really lucky with the people that surrounded me at that time."

■Dr Michael Edward Matthews is honoured for services to food technology and the food industry. He is a professional food technologist who has worked for the New Zealand food industry for more than 40 years.
■Dr Harvey Eshkol Indyk is honoured for services to analytical chemistry and the dairy industry. He is a world-leading chemist in the development of modern methods for the analysis of vitamin micronutrients and proteins in dairy products.
■Professor Warwick Bruce Silvester is honoured for services to science and conservation. He has provided leadership and advice to a large number of professional and community organisations with a conservation focus.
■Donald William Scarlet is honoured for services to conservation. Mr Scarlet has made significant contributions to environmental restoration and conservation within the Waikato region and particularly within the Waipa District.