A Levin woman who has given half her life to lawn bowls has that service recognised with a Queen's Service Medal on the New Year Honours list.
Carrell Mary Knight, 78, said she opened the letter from the Governor-General a few months ago and has had to keep its contents secret since.
She was happy the cat was out of the bag now, and it was a chance for her to reflect on what had been a labour of love as one of those rare people who rolled their sleeves up behind the scenes.
"It's a great honour. I was gobsmacked," she said, and initially wondered who might have nominated her and if it was deserved.
"Someone must have decided it was," she said.
Her introduction to bowls was almost by accident, though.
It was 1964. She was keen on golf, but her late husband Bob coaxed her into joining their local Lyall Bay Bowling Club, a stone's throw away from their back door.
A short time later Mrs Knight found herself on the committee. Soon she was secretary, and later President. It was the start of a career of voluntary club administration that would dominate the Knight household for years to come.
The only thing that kept Knight from her bowls duties was cancer. The first battle was in 1990 with chemotherapy, and again when the disease returned in 1995 with radiation.
"They gave me ten years to live. I'm still here..." she said.
There was a year in the mid-80s when there was no bowls played at Lyall Bay though, as a mix up by greenkeepers saw the lawn sprayed with weedkiller instead of fertiliser.
But one of the biggest changes in the last 50 years was the development of women's bowls. Mrs Knight joined in an era when women wore "frocks" that had to be 16 centimetres from the ground.
"There was a big mirror with a line on it and that's where the hem of your skirt had to be," she said.
They were not allowed to wear necklaces or bangles, and any earrings were stud only. Blouses had to have a collar and sleeves, and hats had to have bands.
"That's how it always was," she said, and with amalgamation in 1996 "white shorts were flying out the door" when etiquette changes were finally introduced in 1996.
There was also a time were for some clubs where men would own the green, and any women's division within that club would have to negotiate terms for the use of it.
"It does sound ridiculous now," she said.
While an accomplished bowler herself with one Centre title and 32 club titles – always as skip - it was off the green that Knight made her mark.
When the Knight family moved to Waitarere Beach in 1984, they soon found themselves involved with the bowling club there, before joining the Levin Bowling Club, and then the Levin Women's Bowling Club, where she had been President since 2009.
In between times she was President of the Kapiti Coast Women's Bowling Centre, before its amalgamation with the men's centre in 1997, then also serving as an executive on the newly formed Bowls Kapiti Coast where she was tournament convenor for 17 years.
Mrs Knight also served terms as vice-president, president and board member of the centre, and was now a life member and patron.
She was a member of the Bowls New Zealand Council from 1996 to 2003, Regional Executive Councillor for the Lower North Island from 1998 to 2003, a member of the Bowls New Zealand games development committee (2005-2007) and a member of the Bowls New Zealand Advisory Council for five years.
Mrs Knight was also secretary and treasurer of the Waitarere Beach Tennis Club for 18 years and secretary of the Waitarere Beach Ratepayers and Progressive Association for 12 years.
She remains the president of Levin Women's Bowling Club.
Now living in Levin, Knight grew up in Palmerston North and her first job on leaving school as a 15-year-old was delivering telegrams, later moving the ranks to become a teleprinter.
When Mrs Knight joined the Police in Wellington in 1964 she was the 205th woman in New Zealand to do so, serving for six years before moving back into the Wellington Telegraph Office.