Eight people from the Bay of Plenty will today be recognised by the Queen for their service to the community and for achievements in their fields.
The five Queen's Birthday Honours recipients from Rotorua are:
Dr Margriet Theron, Member of the Order of New Zealand
For services to science and the community
Dr Margriet Theron learned she was a Queen's Birthday honouree when she opened her mail in the supermarket carpark.
Her first reaction was one of amazement.
For Theron, who also celebrated her 80th birthday and 50th wedding anniversary this year, the moment was like coming full circle.
"I've been a great royalist since I was five years old," Theron said.
"I was living in Cape Town then and King George and his two daughters came to visit."
Theron said she listened to then Princess Elizabeth's 21st-birthday speech live over the radio.
"I remember she promised to dedicate her life to serving communities."
Since then Theron has tried to follow the monarch's example.
Theron's leading role in New Zealand's forestry science earned her a New Zealand Suffrage Centennial medal in 1993.
She has held governance roles with the Rotorua Chamber of Commerce, Geyser Community Foundation, HortResearch, Rotary, Ngati Pikiao, Bay of Plenty Conservation Board and was the first female Dean of Forestry at Waiariki Institute of Technology.
But Theron said she has been most grateful for the chance to work with immigrant communities.
"I'm grateful to work with communities, to help migrants to settle and celebrate their own culture, food and language.
"Providing them with opportunities to do that also shows how migrants contribute to and enrich the culture of New Zealand."
Tangihaere Gloria Harihari-Hughes, Member of the Order of New Zealand
For services to Māori and youth
Tangihaere Gloria Harihari-Hughes says she was surprised and humbled by the news, and didn't quite believe it initially.
Harihari-Hughes was president of the New Zealand Māori Wardens Association from 2006 to 2011, having joined the national executive membership in 2005.
Harihari-Hughes organised and led a team of 30 Māori wardens from around the motu to travel to assist following the 2010 Christchurch earthquake, later organising two further teams to rotate in and continue this support.
She is the regional manager for Māori wardens districts of Tauranga Moana, Waiariki.
As a lay advocate for the Rotorua Youth Court since 2018, Harihari-Hughes has arranged for youth undertaking community service hours to assist the Māori wardens with community needs.
For 11 years she has organised a Māori wardens team to assist at the annual Secondary School Waka Ama Competition.
In 2008, she helped establish a Māori wardens branch in Brisbane, Australia.
She has been a member of the Bay of Plenty and Rotorua Police Advisory Board since 2010.
She was involved with the Te Arawa land claim via Te Pumautanga O Te Arawa from 2000 to 2009, and chaired the Ngāti Rongomai Iwi Trust land claim in the same period.
Harihari-Hughes was also the regional manager of the Waiariki Māori Women's Welfare League from 2000 to 2004.
She said the most important part of her working experience has been to "lead with honesty, integrity and genuine care of people".
Ross Everiss, Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit
For services to rugby
When All Blacks Sevens rugby team manager Ross Everiss opened his emails in early April, one item in his inbox stood out from the rest.
"I was quite stunned, to be honest with you. It took me a while to read it and read it again."
Everiss has managed New Zealand's premier rugby sevens team since 2003.
Everiss said he was humbled by the honour and was grateful for the sacrifices of his wife and family who have helped him along the way.
"It's also a tribute to the team. There's been a lot of cool moments in my long time with them.
"It's been exciting to be part of the Olympics, the rugby world cups and world series tournaments, with some important victories."
During his time with the team, the All Blacks Sevens have won four Commonwealth gold medals, a silver medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and 13 of the 21 events in the World Rugby Sevens World Series circuit.
Everiss' support and mentorship have contributed to the success of the team and helped inspire the younger generation into the sport.
Everiss said he was proud to be able to say he'd left the team in a better place than it was when he picked it up.
"There's some satisfaction in knowing that I've added to the legacy."
Patrick Walsh, Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit
For services to education
Former John Paul College principal Patrick Walsh was not expecting a letter from the Governor-General in the mail.
"I was very humbled, because I know that there are a lot of great educators out there.
"It's an award you receive on behalf of all teachers and principals."
Walsh expressed his gratitude to his wife, Pauline, and to John Paul College who over the years have supported Walsh's participation in national education initiatives.
Walsh played a key role in the leadership of the Secondary Principals' Association of New Zealand and has been a member of the executive since 2005.
Recently Walsh was selected to be New Zealand's representative on the Education Advisory Committee of the Australia Scholarship Group where he will be responsible for reporting on trends, issues and initiatives from the New Zealand education sector.
Walsh was also the recipient of the Woolf-Fisher Fellowship to Harvard University in 2020.
Irene Ann Somerville, recipient of the Queen's Service Medal
For services to the community and historical research
Ann Somerville described the experience of opening her official Queen's Birthday honours letters as "quite overwhelming".
"At first I thought I was in trouble for something."
Somerville still thinks the award has come "out of left field", but she is grateful.
"I've just been given so many opportunities. I'm blessed."
Somerville's community service has included St Faith's Anglican Church, Ōhinemutu, and Rotorua Little Theatre in the 1970s and 1980s.
Somerville worked at Rotorua Museum Te Whare Taonga o Rotorua for more than 20 years.
Since her retirement, Somerville has assisted with television and film documentaries featuring the region and consulted the Friends of Rotorua Museum on acquiring taonga and artworks for existing collections.
In 2017, she helped revive the Rotorua branch of the Māori Women's Health League and has since taught classes on making preserves, which are sold as fundraisers.
Somerville said she was the proudest of the people she has worked alongside.
"I don't stand alone. There's a whole bunch of people standing by me, the people I love to work with and for.
"That's what makes it magic."
All Bay of Plenty QBHs:
MNZM Patrick Garratt
ONZM Mrs Tangihaere Gloria Harihari-Hughes
QSM Heather Waldron
ONZM Dr Margrietha Johanna Theron
QSM Craig McFarlane
MNZM Mr Ross Duncan Everiss
NZAM Dr Ian Hawes
QSM Irene Ann Somerville
Former John Paul College principal Patrick Walsh, who now lives in Auckland, received MNZM
What the acronyms mean
ONZ: Member of the Order of New Zealand
GNZM: Dame or Knight Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit
DNZM/KMNZ: Dame or Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit
CNZM: Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit
QSO: Companion of the Queen's Service Order
ONZML: Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit
QSM: The Queen's Service Medal
NZAM: The New Zealand Antarctic Medal
DSD: The New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration