Fiao'o Fa'amausili
Officer of New Zealand Order of Merit for services to rugby

New Zealand women's rugby captain Fiao'o Fa'amausili has been named on the Queen's Birthday Honours list for services to rugby.

Fa'amausili is regarded as one of the world's best hookers and has skippered the Black Ferns since 2012, leading the side to victory at last year's World Cup.

She was today one of 39 New Zealanders officially made Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

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The 36-year-old said she was overwhelmed by the news and paid tribute to her father, who passed away just before she made her Black Ferns debut in 2002.

"I was more overwhelmed and just didn't know how to take it," Fa'amausili said.

"I was really thrilled and excited about it, but at the same time, it was kind of hard to keep it from everybody, especially my mum. It means a lot and it truly is amazing.

Fiao'o Fa'amausili has lead the Black Ferns as captain since 2012. Photo / Getty Images
Fiao'o Fa'amausili has lead the Black Ferns as captain since 2012. Photo / Getty Images

"My hero is my father. I play every game for him, so he's definitely that driving force and why I'm still in the game.

"That's why I keep doing what I'm doing, as long as he's looking down at me smiling, I'm perfectly happy on the field."

Fa'amausili recently put her retirement on hold with the naming of 28 of New Zealand's top female rugby players becoming the first 15-a-side players to be offered Black Ferns contracts.

"The honour goes to our team, to my teammates who played alongside me through the years and to the coaching staff," she said.

"I definitely don't take it lightly because it's a team sport I play and it's full credit to them that I've been recognised for this.

"I'm definitely going to keep going until I lose that drive. Just seeing the young girls come through, that keeps me going. That drives me, the fact that I still love the game."

Fiao'o Fa'amausili was made Officer of The New Zealand Order of Merit. Photo / Getty Images
Fiao'o Fa'amausili was made Officer of The New Zealand Order of Merit. Photo / Getty Images

Fiona Allan, who has served as Chief of Paralympics New Zealand since 2007, was also made an Officer of The New Zealand Order of Merit alongside Marie Baker for services to lifesaving and swimming, Tracey Fear for services to netball, and Gillian Gemming for services to hockey.

Kiwi Ferns captain Laura Mariu, who has represented New Zealand in rugby league, karate, softball, tag football, and touch rugby, was made Member of The New Zealand Order of Merit alongside Olympic triathlete Andrea Hewitt.

Officer of The New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM)

Fiao'o Fa'amusili (rugby), Fiona Allan (Paralympic sport), Marie Baker (lifesaving and swimming), Tracey Fear (netball), Dallas Fisher (philanthropy and sport), Gillian Gemming (hockey), Kristen Hellier (athletics), Carol Ngawati (services to sport), Andrew Nicholson (equestrian).

Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM)

Laura Tui (rugby league), Mary Wright (gymnastics), Joe Walls (horse racing), Darryl Suasua (rugby), Brian Stannett (wrestling), Gordon Rayner (kayaking), Christine Panapa (services to sport), Grant Nisbett (sports broadcasting), Rochelle Martin (rugby), Christine Hartstone (equestrian), Andrea Hewitt (triathlon), Matthew Hall (fishing), Kerry Dellaca (sports governance), Ian Begbie (motorsport), Clive Akers (rugby).

The Queen's Service Medal (OSM)

Heather Aitken (karate), Alison Brearley (services to sport), Peter Crawford (services to sport), Jim Drummond (swimming), Ray Mettrick (cricket), Rosemarie Searle (services to sport).