Kaikohe's Peter Macauley has been made a Knight of St John in recognition of more than 30 years' volunteer service to the organisation.

The Kaikohe lawyer received the honour at a ceremony led by Dame Patsy Reddy in Auckland earlier this month. As well as being Governor-General, Dame Patsy is the Prior of St John in New Zealand.

Macauley, a principal at Northland law firm Palmer Macauley, has only recently stepped down after 32 years as chairman of St John's Kaikohe Area Committee.

He remains the committee's deputy chairman, is the Northland representative on St John's Northern Region Trust Board, and is a member of the national Rules Committee.

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His other roles are too many to list but include 13 years on the Priory Chapter (St John's national governance body) and convenor of the 1986-88 fundraising effort which built Kaikohe's new St John Ambulance station.

The newly knighted Peter Macauley with the Prior of St John in New Zealand, Dame Patsy Reddy. Photo / Dave MacKay
The newly knighted Peter Macauley with the Prior of St John in New Zealand, Dame Patsy Reddy. Photo / Dave MacKay

Outside St John, Macauley's community involvement includes 40 years as a member of Kaikohe Lions and long commitment to the Kaikohe RSA, Northland Rugby and the Kaikohe Rugby and Sports Club, of which he is patron and a life member.

Richard Blundell, patron of St John Northern Region and a fellow Knight of St John, said Macauley had made a "tremendous contribution" to the organisation.

"He's such a man of the community. St John is lucky to have him, and so is Northland rugby and Lions. With 30-plus years as chairman of the St John Kaikohe Area Committee any big project in Kaikohe in that time has been under his tutelage.

"Behind the scenes he has worked on the Rules Committee – it might sound mundane but his legal mind makes a significant contribution. His knowledge of the law, the rules and the traditions of St John make him a huge contributor at every level," Blundell said.

"It's a huge commitment and it reflects the passion the man has for the organisation."

Macauley has been practising law in Kaikohe since moving north from Wellington almost 50 years ago.

In the year 2000 he was named Community Service Lawyer of the year by the Auckland District Law Society.

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His wife, Sally, is also known for her public service. She is currently the chairwoman of the Northland District Health Board.

The Order of St John is one of the world's oldest service organisations, dating back to around the year 1070, and has its own Royal Honours. It provides ambulance services, first aid training, medical alarms, and youth and community programmes.

Being made a Knight or Dame is effectively the organisation's highest attainable honour. The next rung up is limited to just 25 members worldwide at any one time.