Former prime minister David Lange
and distinguished scientist Dr William Pickering joined the
elite list of members of the Order of New Zealand in the Queen's
Birthday Honours announced today.
As prime minister from 1984 to
1989, Mr Lange presided over far-reaching economic reforms that
changed the face of New Zealand. His government also introduced
New Zealand's anti-nuclear policy.
Only 20 people are admitted to
the Order of New Zealand at any time and Mr Lange becomes the
19th member, joining Sir Edmund Hillary, former governor-general
Dame Catherine Tizard and former prime ministers Jim Bolger and
Mr Lange, a former lawyer, was
elected to Parliament in 1977, becoming New Zealand's youngest
prime minister at the age of 41.
He was celebrating his honour
quietly yesterday, because he was bedridden with a fever.
He was diagnosed last year with
an incurable blood disease, amyloidosis, and told he might have
only four months to live – a deadline he passed several months
However, in spite of his
illness, he has retained his legendary wit, joking that his
award was indicative of the "rehabilitation of time".
"It's part of that balm
that descends on you as you advance through the years."
He said the award was a great
honour, though unexpected. "I thought my time was long
Joining Mr Lange at the head of
the honours list, Dr Pickering, 92, becomes an honorary member
of the Order of New Zealand.
Born in Wellington and educated
at Canterbury College (now University), his award is in the
honorary category because he is now an American citizen.
He moved to the United States
in 1929, eventually becoming responsible for the United States'
first satellite, and leading its unmanned deep space research as
director from 1954 till 1976 of California's Jet Propulsion
Under Dr Pickering's
leadership, the laboratory helped develop ballistic missiles
with the capacity to deliver nuclear warheads around the globe.
He has received many international awards for his work,
including an honorary knighthood. He was in New Zealand in March
to unveil a monument in Havelock, near Blenheim, that honours
him and atomic physicist Lord Rutherford, and to receive an
honorary doctorate from Canterbury University.
Four people were made
Distinguished Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit:
Masterton artist Robin White, Dunedin stockbroker Eion Edgar,
women's affairs campaigner Alison Roxburgh and Maori leader
Other high profile New
Zealanders to receive honours include playwright Roger Hall and
TV personality Paul Holmes, both appointed Companions of the New
Zealand Order of Merit, film producer John Barnett, jazz band
leader Rodger Fox and opera singer Patrick Power, all Officers
of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
Jim McLay, who was briefly
deputy prime minister in 1984 and served as New Zealand
commissioner to the International Whaling Commission for the
past nine years, is made a CNZM for his services to
Former Council of Trade Unions
secretary Angela Foulkes is made an ONZM.
Sports people recognised
include Marise Chamberlain, the 800m track bronze medalist at
the 1964 Olympics, Manfeild motor-racing promoter Rob Lester and
former Silver Ferns netball players Julie Seymour and Linda
Vagana, who are all made Members of the New Zealand Order of
Merit. Frenchman Bruno Trouble, who managed the America's Cup
challenger series in Auckland, is made an Honorary ONZM.
Additional Officers of the New
Zealand Order of Merit appointments for military operational
service go to Commander John Martin, commander of Te Kaha for
eight months in the Arabian Sea for Operation Enduring Freedom,
and Lieutenant Colonel Antony Hayward and Lieutenant Colonel
Dean Baigent, who respectively commanded the last two
detachments of New Zealand peacekeepers in East Timor.