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Sunday, June 3, 2012

National Next Article: Auckland widens the property gap Prince Philip's ONZ honour spark criticism

 Sir Peter Jackson, Dame Malvina Major, Dame Margaret Bazley and Prince Philip have been given the country's highest honours this Queen's Birthday.

They've each been made members of the Order of New Zealand, for services to New Zealand.

The country also has three new dames, and four new knights.

Names on that list include Sir John Kirwan for services to mental health and rugby, Dame Pieter Stewart for services to fashion and the community, and former Labour Deputy Prime Minister, now Sir Michael Cullen.

In total, 185 people have been recognised, for work ranging from business to the arts, sport, and literature.

Prince Philip is delighted to be made a member of the Order of New Zealand.

The Queen's husband has been given the country's highest honour this Queen's Birthday for services to New Zealand.

Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams says the Queen and Prince Philip have visited the country 10 times.

"He is somebody who, as the Queen has said, has done a very great deal and also is not one to take the compliments," he says.

Mr Fitzwilliams says Prince Philip supports a number of local charities.

"For example if we look at the Duke of Edinburgh's Hillary Award, which of course is now also named in honour of Sir Edmund Hillary, this has helped several thousand young people every year and this is one of his very special links with New Zealand."

Prince Philip is also the Field Marshal of the New Zealand Army, Admiral of the Fleet of the Navy, and Marshal of the Air Force.

Nothing says how relevant the monarchy is like giving a guy who has been here only 10 times in his life an award," said chairman Lewis Holden.

But the chairman of Monarchy New Zealand, Sean Palmer, believes the award is justified.

"He has held the position of the monarch of New Zealand's consort for six decades, which is a phenomenal length of time to be in any position.

"And he has shown his commitment to New Zealand on many occasions. He is well connected with charitable organisations and social groups."

The Order of New Zealand is New Zealand's highest honour, limited to 20 living persons at any time.

But additional members can be appointed in commemoration of important royal, state or national occasions - such as the Queen's Diamond Jubilee this year.

The citation for the Duke of Edinburgh lists his roles such as Marshal of the Royal New Zealand Air Force and patron of charities and organisations here.

Special mention is made of his Duke of Edinburgh's Hillary Awards, which "continue to motivate and encourage young New Zealanders".

But Mr Holden said the honour was a "slap in the face" for New Zealanders working to better their communities.

"The people who are doing the work, getting their hands dirty, turning up to the soup kitchens and running the sausage sizzles ... they are the New Zealanders."

Mr Holden said honouring someone known for public gaffes, including racist remarks, sent the wrong message.

But Mr Palmer said his organisation had called for the honour to be given, and was pleased the Government had done so.

"I think most people will look at it and say, 'The man is in his 90s, and has devoted 60 years of his life to service around the Commonwealth'.

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