Minister for Sport and Recreation, Grant Robertson, has congratulated former national netball coach, Ruth Aitken, on being made a Dame on the Queen’s Birthday and Platinum Jubilee Honours List 2022 announced today.
Ms Aitken coached the Silver Ferns to win the 2003 World Netball Championship and the 2006 and 2010 Commonwealth Games. The team also won silver at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and the 2007 and 2011 World Netball Championships.
“This is well deserved recognition for our most capped Silver Ferns coach, with 112 Tests,” said Mr Robertson.
“She was also Netball New Zealand Coaching Director from 2011 to 2013, leading initiatives to encourage increased participation at all levels of coaching. She has been steadfast in her dedication to netball, promoting the game and inspiring a generation of young netballers,” Grant Robertson said.
Rugby league player, Benji Marshall has been appointed as a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to rugby league.
“Benji Marshall has played a record 346 games in the NRL – the most of any New Zealand player in rugby league. While he retired from the sport last year he continues to work in the community with his foundation which supports the Children’s Cancer Institute of Australia.”
“He is a hero to many New Zealander’s and a consistently strong role model,” Mr Robertson said.
Black cap Ross Taylor has also been appointed as a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
“Ross Taylor is an outstanding cricketer who has played 450 international matches for New Zealand and was the first player in world cricket to play more than 100 matches in each of the three international formats.
“Ross Taylor is one of our greatest ever cricketers. He ends his career with the highest number of test runs and one day international runs of any New Zealander,” Grant Robertson said.
Three of our Olympic rowers, who won gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics, Emma Twigg, Kerri Williams and Grace Prendergast, have been appointed as Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
Paralympian Holly Robinson is also honoured as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit after her gold medal in the javelin which followed on from her silver medal four years earlier in Rio.
Other sportspeople and administrators appointed as Officers of the New Zealand Order of Merit include Matahi Brightwell for his dedication to Waka Ama, founding the first club in 1985; World champion shearer John Kirkpatrick; Rod Pelosi for his commitment to football administration at local, national and international level; and Des Peters for his 41 year service to snow sports.
“I am so proud of all of our honours recipients for their services both on and off the field,” Minister Robertson said.