Peter Macauley has been invested as a Knight of St John, in recognition of more than 30 years' voluntary service to the organisation.

Mr Macauley, principal at Kaikohe law firm Palmer Macauley, who received the honour at a ceremony led by Dame Patsy Reddy, Governor-General and Prior of St John in New Zealand, in Auckland, only recently stepped down after 32 years as chairman of the St John Kaikohe Area Committee. He remains the committee's deputy chairman, is the Northland representative on the Northern Region Trust Board, and is a member of the national Rules Committee.

His other past roles are too numerous to list, but include 13 years on the Priory Chapter (St John's national governance body) and convener of the 1986-88 fundraising effort that built Kaikohe's new St John ambulance station.

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

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Richard Blundell, patron of St John Northern Region and a fellow Knight of St John, said Mr 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," he said.

"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, which 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.

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

Mr Macauley, who has been practising law in Kaikohe for almost 50 years since moving north from Wellington, was in 2000 named Community Service Lawyer of the Year by the Auckland District Law Society.

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 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.

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