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Our Honours recipients


Ms Wilde dedicates being born in New Zealand to the opportunities she was given to make social change.

The former MP, a Cabinet minister, Mayor of Wellington and Chairwoman of the Greater Wellington Regional Council, has become a Dame Companion to the New Zealand Order of Merit (DNZM) for services to the State and the community.

She has played leading roles in central and local government since the early 1980s.

“It is a great honour it goes without saying.

“It just makes you so grateful that you had the opportunity and people should grasp that opportunity,” she said.

“I was bought up to believe you were there to make a difference, and so I have tried to make that difference,” she said.

She grew up in a household where her father was a journalist who taught her to question things, and she did.

After becoming a journalist and through her interest in what was happening around her, she became involved in politics.

“I haven’t always been successful, you don’t win every battle but you win a lot of them.

“I’m still wondering what I’m going to do when I grow up basically, I have spent my whole life looking for the next big thing which I do constantly, so I’m not sure [what she’ll do next].”

Ms Wilde currently holds governance positions in several national and regional entities, including community roles such as Chair of Wellington on a Plate, and The Great War Exhibition.

She is also the recipient of a GNZM, QSM and the 2013 winner of the Women of Influence award.

“Sometimes people say ‘oh when are you going to retire’, but I can’t imagine not doing anything, it would be unimaginable.

“But I would like more time in my Wairarapa [Greytown] garden which I love very much.”

Ms Wilde and her husband, Christopher Kelly, have owned their Greytown property for about 16 years, and enjoy escaping the city life of Wellington most weekends.

“Hopefully I’ll just be Fran Wilde, I don’t need a title.”



Adrienne Staples. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN
Adrienne Staples. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN

When former South Wairarapa Mayor Adrienne Staples was told she would become an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, she “burst into tears”.

Mrs Staples was South Wairarapa’s first female Mayor when she was first elected in 2004, and kept the mayoralty until this year when she stood down prior to the October local body elections.

During her time as mayor she oversaw the completion of the redevelopment of Greytown’s historic town hall into the Greytown Town Centre, complete with library and community hub, and the formation of the

Cross Creek to Featherston cycle trail.

Her later years as mayor had seen a focus on advancing local infrastructure, including wastewater treatment.

“I come from a family where you were always expected to do the very best at whatever you did – that was just our home ethic,” Mrs Staples said.

“I was really pleased to be able to do the job for as long as I did (12 years), but I didn’t do it for accolades, I did it because I wanted to and I wanted to do a good job for the district.

“That was why I stood for mayor. I thought, I can do a good job.”

Mrs Staples said she was shocked when she found out she would be an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

“To be acknowledged in such a way really did take me by surprise and when I first found out, I burst into tears.

“It’s really nice to be recognised and I’m thrilled to bits.”

Mrs Staples is now the Wairarapa representative on the Greater Wellington Regional Council.



Roly Ellis. PHOTO/FILE
Roly Ellis. PHOTO/FILE

Former Tararua Mayor Roly Ellis said it was a surprise to be acknowledged for his services to local government by being made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Mr Ellis was elected as a North Ward Councillor to the Tararua District Council in a 2009 by-election, prior to becoming Mayor in 2010.

As Mayor he held the Economic and Business Development Portfolio and oversaw growth in the farming and urban industries.

He worked on obtaining funding and progressing three major projects for the district: water storage facilities at Pahiatua and Woodville, and an upgrade of Saddle Road.

He stood down as mayor this year citing health issues and deafness.

“This honour was a surprise to put it mildly,” he said.

“We’re very much a rural district and these sorts of things tend to go elsewhere, so for that reason it was a surprise.

“To be quite honest I believe it was a team effort.

“There’s been a lot of hard work over the past 6 years.”

Mr Ellis is the president of the Dannevirke and Districts Returned and Services Association and is a Committee member of the Woodville-Pahiatua Racing Club.

His father, years ago, was given the Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for military service.



Murray Chandler. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
Murray Chandler. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

New Zealand’s only chess grandmaster had two people he was most pleased for when he found out he would receive a prestigious New Year’s honour.

Murray Chandler will become a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to chess.

He said the honour was a reflection of his parent’s, Jill and Graham Chandler of Masterton, and their contribution in his achievements.

“I’m very happy for my parents actually, but particularly my father.

“When I was starting out he took me to so many tournaments and he was fantastic — I’m delighted to get it for his sake and all he did for me in my early years.”

Mr Chandler grew up in Wainuiomata and took up chess around the age of 12.

He moved to England when he was 15 and has represented both New Zealand and England at the highest level.

He returned to New Zealand in 2007.

His long list of achievements includes three New Zealand Chess Championship titles and two Commonwealth Championships in 1984 and 1987.

He was editor of British Chess Magazine for eight years and set up Gambit Publications, a publisher of high quality chess books.

Although semi-retired from playing, Mr Chandler is currently president of the New Zealand Chess Federation, and still does plenty of voluntary work for the sport.

“I thought I’d have a gap year but it’s turned into a gap decade,” he said.

“The game has been incredibly good to me and it’s a chance for me to give back and repay that debt.”




Masterton’s Lynn Lamb has been awarded a Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) in the 2017 New Year Honours list for a lifetime of service to equestrian sport in New Zealand.

“I felt very honoured, of course,” she said of the award.

Mrs Lamb has competed in showing horses, dressage, show jumping and eventing at a regional and national level and has endeavoured to pass on her expertise to younger generations.

Well known for her efforts with the local pony club, she is now the patron of North Wairarapa Pony Club.

She has been a committee member of Riding for the Disabled, and in 2014 was the Wairarapa volunteer of the year for the organisation.

Mrs Lamb was named the first female Clerk of the Course at a metropolitan race course in New Zealand.

“My mother always said to me if you have got something out of a sport you should put something back in it if you can,” she said.

“And that’s why I have stuck with the horses.”

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