You can't talk to anyone who knows anything about bowls in Northland without having the name Ann Muir brought up.

The Whangarei-based bowls player and coach has been awarded many awards over the years through her prowess on the greens, though none may be more prestigious than the Queen's Service Medal for services to bowls and the community.

A wealth of emotions came to Miss Muir once she heard the news.

"Humbled, surprised, all those kinds of emotions come flowing into you when you get something like this," she said.

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"You do these things because you want to do it and you love doing it, not for the accolades."

Keeping the award secret has been a challenge for Miss Muir, who even tried to steer a family member towards the news without explicitly telling her.

"I haven't told anyone. I do have a sister though and I tried to push her in the direction but I didn't tell her outright. It's been so hard."

It's not just her bowling prowess that has led her to this honour. Her 45-year career as a teacher at Kamo Intermediate, St Joseph's School and Pompallier Catholic College has endeared her to the community.

"I just love being with the kids and helping them to learn and succeed," Miss Muir said.

Despite retiring in 2011 after a long haul at the teacher's desk, Miss Muir continues to teach special needs children part time, assists with a school lunch programme and provides financial and emotional support to disadvantaged students and their families.

While teaching was something she always loved, her relationship with the bowling greens wasn't originally planned.

"I picked it up in 68-69 because of an injury I had. I couldn't play contact sports. I had been playing cricket and hockey," she said.

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"I had to have something to do on the weekends. My parents played bowls so I picked it up and the rest is history."

A previous president of Bowls New Zealand, she has represented New Zealand in lawn bowls as a player, coach, selector, and manager. She is the current selector, head coach and a director with the New Zealand Blind Lawn Bowling Team.

While Miss Muir still has the competitive drive that top players do, coaching is a way she "can give something back to the sport."

And Miss Muir has no plans on stopping either bowls or teaching anytime soon.

"I'll carry on playing until I can't and I'll carry on coaching until they don't want me. Bowls and teaching - I live for those two things."