Juan Zarama Perini
Lisa Carrington, New Zealand’s most decorated Olympian, received her Dame title at Government House on Tuesday.
Five-time Olympic gold medalist Dame Lisa Carrington led a list of honored investitures at Government House following the Queen’s death.
The famous canoe racer said it was special to be able to experience the whole ceremony and receive her badge and korowai with the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II still hanging on the wall in front of her.
“It’s really nice to be able to celebrate it in an official way…to be able to do it is a huge privilege.”
In the absence of Governor General Dame Cindy Kiro, who is in the UK for the Queen’s funeral, the Government Administrator presented the titles of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
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Carrington was made a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to canoe racing in the same year she became New Zealand’s most successful Olympian.
She has also been recognized for her coaching and support of young paddlers at her home club in Ōhope as well as her work with Canoe Racing New Zealand to develop the sport.
Meanwhile, in 2021, she was also named the most influential Maori sports personality of the past 30 years, as well as the Halberg Sportswoman of the Decade.
Carrington said it was “not something I ever thought would happen”.
The investiture ceremony was an important time to look back on her accomplishments, she said.
“It’s not something I think about every day, but it’s really nice to have times like this to be able to do that.”
After a month away from training, following her third gold medal at the sprint canoe world championships, Carrington said she is back.
Although she didn’t have the ‘longest career’ as an athlete, she hoped to continue making an impact and ‘doing something for New Zealand, New Zealanders, our young wāhine, children’ , as had others on the list of nominations.
Chelsea Winstanley (Ngāti Ranginui and Ngāi Te Rangi), who was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, said she was grateful to be recognized for her contributions. “But it’s not just me,” she said, “there are so many other people who help me do what I do and I’m so grateful for that.”
“I am so honored and delighted because I have my whānau here with me, I wear my tipuna’s beautiful taonga.”
The filmmaker and producer has been recognized for her service to the screen industry and Maori.
She was the first indigenous wāhine producer to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar with Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabit and the producer behind te reo Māori versions of Disney’s Moana, Lion King and Frozen.
Waititi was also among those recognized at this week’s investiture ceremonies.
The monarch will be buried in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
Winstanley said her work was “for our babies of tomorrow, to see their own language in public spaces, in movies, and to be proud to step into those spaces.”
“Standardizing te reo Maori should be something we all embrace because it’s the language of the country,” she said.
To commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, two additional members will receive New Zealand’s highest honor at investitures this week.
Former Governor General Dame Silvia Cartwright receives additional Order of New Zealand for her significant contributions to the legal profession; work that includes participating in a United Nations investigation into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka, investigating North Korea’s violations of international law, and leading the public inquiry into the Earthquake Commission .
Sir Tipene O’Regan receives an additional Order of New Zealand for his work in academia, the public sector and his influential contributions to Ngāi Tahu.
Ruth Aitken, coach of world champion Silver Ferns, is among the wāhine toa receiving Damehoods. Hugh Rennie will receive a Knighthood for services to governance, law, business and community.
Former children’s commissioner Andrew Becroft and para-athlete Holly Robinson are also among those recognized.