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ACM Home arrow Knights & Dames arrow N Z Order of Merit - 15th Anniversary - and knighthoods restored

N Z Order of Merit - 15th Anniversary - and knighthoods restored Print E-mail
Written by Rafal Heydel-Mankoo   
Sunday, 05 June 2011
  

Monday, 30 May 2011, marked the 15th anniversary of the institution, by Royal Warrant, of The New Zealand Order of Merit in 1996.

The Order ranks second to the Order of New Zealand and is awarded to those “who in any field of endeavour, have rendered meritorious service to the Crown and nation or who have become distinguished by their eminence, talents, contributions or other merits”.

The motto of the Order is FOR MERIT and, in Maori, TOHU HIRANGA (“To Achieve Excellence”). Citizens of those countries of which The Queen is sovereign are eligible for ordinary membership.

The constitution of the Order allows for the appointment of “additional” members on significant royal, national or state occasions.  Foreign citizens and citizens of Commonwealth countries of which The Queen is not sovereign may be appointed as “honorary” members. Honorary and additional appointments are extra-numerary.

The New Zealand Order of Merit has its own herald, in the person of Mr. Philip O’Shea, New Zealand Herald Extraordinary.


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[HM The Queen of New Zealand wearing thegrand cross riband, badge and star of the NZ Orderof Merit, the Sovereign's badge of the Order of New Zealand and the badge of the Queen's Service Order ]

 HM The Queen of New Zealand wearing the grand cross riband, badge and star of the NZ Orderof Merit, the Sovereign's badge of the Order of NewZealand and the badge of the Queen's Service Order



 ..Knights and Dames popular...




 Of the Order’s original five classes the two highest (knight/dame grand companion and knight/dame companion) conferred a knighthood or damehood.

On 10 April 2000 it was announced that following the earlier recommendations of the Prime Minister’s Honours Advisory Committee (1995) The Queen had approved the discontinuance of the two titular classes and their replacement with two new designations: principal companion and distinguished companion. These changes were instituted by a Royal Warrant dated 18 May 2000.

The first appointments to the re-designated levels were made in The Queen’s Birthday Honours issued on 5 June 2000. The five classes became: principal companion, distinguished companion, companion, officer and member.

Those who were previously invested as knights or dames of the New Zealand Order of Merit were permitted to continue to bear the honorific; the wife of a knight, provided she used her husband’s surname, could continue to bear the courtesy title of ‘lady’ before the surname. 

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[Collar and Sash Badge ]

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[ Breast Star ]


 

...titles restored...





  In March 2009 it was announced that, upon the approval of HM The Queen, the titles of knight and dame grand companion and knight and dame companion were to be reinstated.




[ Continued  below]




There had been considerable belief that the removal of knighthoods had diminished the value of the two highest classes of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

A visible titular honour was regarded as the most appropriate means of celebrating success at the highest levels of national life.  The first appointments to the reinstated levels were made in The Queen’s 2009 Birthday Honours List.






..re-designation popular...


The 85 New Zealanders who were appointed principal companions and distinguished companions between 2000 and 2008 were afforded an opportunity to be re-designated to the appropriate level of knight/dame grand companion or knight/dame companion.

 72 of those eligible opted to convert to the appropriate titular honour, a clear indication of the popularity of knighthoods.

No more than thirty persons may belong to the class of knight/dame grand companion at any one time. According to the statutes of the Order, no more than fifteen knight/dame companions, forty companions, eighty officers and one hundred and forty members may be appointed per annum.Additional members may be admitted to the Order in commemoration of any important royal, state, or national occasion, or to recognise military services rendered in war-like and peacekeeping operations.

 Additional members are extra-numerary.Famous past recipients include the golfer Sir Bob Charles, the rugby player Sir Wilson Whineray and the author Mrs Linley Dodd. 

  
A more detailed version of this report may be accessed here
  

 
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