Opera diva Dame Malvina Major has a new unshakeable bond with another Kiwi great, Janet Frame, and she couldn't be more delighted.

The internationally-renowned singer was today presented with the country's highest honour, membership of the Order of New Zealand, by Governor-General Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae.

Dame Malvina was "blown away" by the recognition for her services to New Zealand, but even more so to learn her medal previously belonged to famed writer Frame.

"That's the mana that's been handed onto me. I feel absolutely amazed and privileged to join this group," she said at the ceremony at Government House in Auckland.


The order is restricted to 20 living members and medals are returned when recipients die.

Dame Malvina was supported by family members, including her 10 grandchildren.

She and is one of 40 New Zealanders celebrated for their achievements at ceremonies at this week.

The Hamilton-born singer has had a successful international career spanning 28 years and is also renowned a voice teacher and supporter of young artists.

Earlier this year she left Christchurch to take up a position as a teacher and ambassador at the University of Waikato.

Prominent fashion designer Pieter Stewart was also invested, as Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to fashion and the community.

The driving force behind New Zealand Fashion Week with more than 21 years in the industry, she hoped the recognition would help her to continue to promote New Zealand fashion.

"Today is quite overwhelming. It's an incredible honour," she said.

Dame Pieter founded Fashion Week in 2000 and remains its managing director. She also founded her own modelling agency, was associate editor of magazine Fashion Quarterly from 1985-87 and has been involved with several charitable and community groups.

Sir Jerry thanked the recipients for their work which he said had enriched the country.

Full list of recipients of this week's honours:

Dame Mabel June Hinekahukura Mariu, DNZM for services to Maori and the community

Neville Crichton, CNZM for services to yachting and business

Professor Christine Winterbourn, CNZM for services to science

Hon Simon Power, QSO for services as a Member of Parliament

Leon Blanchet, ONZM for services to athletics

Thomas Gerrard, ONZM for services to education

Colonel Hugh Trengrove, MNZM for services to forensic science

Stephanie Martin, MBE for services to children and families

Judith Eirene Finn, QSM for services to the community

Edward Matchitt, QSM for services to Maori

Nancy Merriman, QSM for services to the community

Kuan Cheong Yap, QSM for services to the community

Squadron Leader Aaron Douglas Benton, DSD for services to the NZDF

Hon Sir Michael Cullen, KNZM for services to the State

Anne Norman, CNZM for services to business

David Norman, CNZM for services to business

Wayne Smith, CNZM for services to rugby

Emeritus Professor Peter Bergquist, ONZM for services to science

Brian Hight, ONZM for services to agricultural publishing

John Pule, ONZM for services as an author, poet and painter

John Thomas, MNZM for services to surf life saving

Dr Robert Morrison, MNZM for services to medicine and the community

Lenh Phong Chin, QSM for services to the Chinese community

Sister Marie Fitzpatrick, QSM for services to the community

Dr Adriana Gunder, QSM for services to the community

Davinder Singh Rahal, QSM for services to the Indian community

Tavale Tanuvasa, QSM for services to education

Dame Malvina Major, ONZ for services to New Zealand

Dame Pieter Stewart, DNZM for services to fashion and the community

Professor Peter Skegg, CNZM for services to medical law

Richard Guy, ONZM for services to rugby

Robert Stanic, ONZM for services to the community

John Gibson, MNZM for services to engineering and the community

Dr James Judson, MNZM for services to intensive care medicine

Ruahine Albert, QSM for services to Maori and the community

Professor Glyn Harper, QSM for services to historical research

Hemi Hema, QSM for services to the deaf

Ariana Simpson, QSM for services to Maori and the community

Mujeeb Syed, QSM for services to the Muslim community