Champion shot putter Valerie Adams has written another stunning chapter into her sporting story - becoming the youngest New Zealander to be appointed a Dame or a Knight at the New Year's Honours.

The two-time Olympic champions has been made a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to athletics.

At 32, she will be younger than Dame Susan Devoy or Sir Edmund Hillary, who were both 34 when they were honoured.

Dame Valerie has won four World Championship gold medals, two Olympic golds, three Commonwealth Games Gold and three World Indoor Championship gold medals.


In 2014, she was named the International Association of Athletics Federations World Female Athlete of the Year.

Dame Valerie has also received the Halberg Supreme Award on three occasions and was Halberg Sportswoman of the Year for seven consecutive years.

The Honours system is a way for New Zealand to thank and congratulate those who have served their communities and recognise people's achievements.

This year, 194 made the list - seven of whom will be appointed Dames and Knights Companion of the Order.

They include Georgina Kingi (services to Maori and Education), Professor Richard Faull (services to medical research) and Brian Roche (services to State and Business) and Fran Wilde (services to the State and community).

Dame Fran had held leadership roles in central and local government since the early 1980s.

She was Member of Parliament, a Minister of the Crown, Mayor of Wellington and chair of the Greater Wellington Regional Council.

Sir Brian, chief executive of New Zealand Post since 2010, oversaw significant transformation of the organisation and as director, contributed to the expansion of its subsidiary Kiwibank.


Niue premier Toke Tufukia Talagi has been made a Knight Companion for his services to Niue and David Willams QC for services to international law and international arbitration.

Major Graham Ross Hickman, is the only person this year to be awarded the New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration. This will be for services to the New Zealand Defence Force and brass bands.

The Queen's Service Order and medals have also been awarded to 59 people in the honours list.

The honours also acknowledges Auckland Mayor and former MP Phil Goff for services as a Member of Parliament.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff. Photo / Andrew Cornaga
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff. Photo / Andrew Cornaga

Goff was the MP for Mount Roskill and Leader of the Opposition and the Labour Party.

In 2008, as Minister of Trade, he signed the New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement, which had been negotiated over the preceding three years.

Goff has been appointed a Companion of the Order.

Professor John Burrows, a law lecturer, author and founder member of the Law Commission, has been recognised for his work in the flag referendum.

He was last year appointed chair of the New Zealand Flag Consideration Panel, which was charged with designing and leading the public engagement process to consider the New Zealand flag.

Burrows too will be made a Companion of the Order.

Vi Cottrell is an officer of the Order of Merit for services to Trade Aid and the Fair Trade movement.

The Kaiapoi resident has been involved in the movement for more than 40 years.
Trade Aid imports more than 3000 food and craft products for sale in more than 30 of its shops throughout New Zealand. Cottrell was named one of Zonta's 50 Women of Achievement this year.

New Zealand's only chess grandmaster Murray Chandler is a member of the Order of Merit for his services to the game.

He first appeared for New Zealand in 1974 and qualified as an International Master in 1977. In the 2000s he shifted his focus from playing to promoting chess and became and active member of the New Zealand Chess Federation Council. He is currently president of the federation.

Rima Te Wiata, who starred in Aussie soap Sons and Daughters and the Billy T James Show is a Member of the Order of Merit.

One of the Auckland resident's latest roles in a career spanning 35 years was in this year's global smash film Hunt for the Wilderpeople.

She was a prominent figure in supporting actions to improve remuneration and conditions of Kiwi actors in the 1980s.

Herald art critic Terence James McNamara has been honoured, appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

The 81-year-old has written for the Herald for 50 years and was recognised for his services to the arts.

"Over the period Mr McNamara has contributed substantially to the growth and understanding of contemporary art in Auckland with hundreds of critical articles, which grew into a regular weekly column," his citation read.

It said he maintained a dedicated routine of visiting galleries and exhibitions.

"His criticisms have been based on research and an erudite knowledge of art history and contemporary New Zealand art."

Barrie Osborne, a world-renowned American-born film producer, was also appointed an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the film industry.

Osborne, 72, was part of the Oscar-winning team behind The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

"I am honoured to receive this recognition," Osborne said.

"I feel privileged to have worked with such great New Zealand talent over 30 years that I have been fortunate to have produced film here.

"This honour is in many ways a tribute to their skills and talents."

Osborne said his experiences motivated him to become a New Zealand citizen in 2003, and he is now a dual citizen of both countries.

Jason Wynyard and his hot saw chainsaw. Photo / Christine Cornege
Jason Wynyard and his hot saw chainsaw. Photo / Christine Cornege

World champion wood chopper Jason Wynyard has also been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for his services to his sport.

Wynyard, aged 42 of West Auckland, has won 230 world titles.

"My father Pae Wynyard was a champion axeman and the main reason I began wood chopping," he said.

"I did not think that wood chopping would take me to the places I have been, but it has been a fantastic journey".

Wynyard started wood chopping at the age of 14 because he grew up watching his dad at competitions.

"I am very proud to be named in the honours," he said. "It is recognition for my sport and for the support of my whanau."

At 16, Wynyard was the youngest ever competitor when he first represented New Zealand with the NZ Axemen Association Team in 1990.

In 1991, he won the NZ Underhand Championship along with both juniors events.

It turned into a professional career since 1996 when he went to compete in the United States.

He is the current Stihl Timbersport World Champion, a title he has won on six previous occasions.

More than a third, or 72 of the recipients on the New Year 2017 Honours list, were for contributions to community, voluntary and local services.

Sport and recreation has 28, followed by 21 each for Arts and Media and Services to the State.