Former prime minister Helen Clark pressured her former ministerial colleague Margaret Shields not to accept the title "Dame".
But the former MP for Kapiti did not buckle, and this afternoon she will be invested as a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
The story goes on to reveal more:
Helen Clark's Labour Government replaced the titles in May 2000 with the non-titular honours of principal and distinguished companions of the order.
National restored the titles in March and gave the 84 people affected by the change four months to choose whether to become dames and knights.
Helen Clark sent Mrs Shields a letter setting out why Labour had abolished the titles and saying she hoped she would not accept one.
Dame Margaret described Helen Clark's approach as being asked to "toe the line", but said she did not see it as a party-political issue.
She did not believe that accepting the title meant she was a royalist.Dame Margaret said she and Helen Clark had agreed to disagree. "I have a great deal of respect for Helen, but I am not a clone."
We are outraged by this. It is none of Helen Clark's business whether honorees chose to accept a titular honour or not. But she appears to have made it her business, even though she no longer holds and legitimate power in New Zealand.
And it makes us wonder - how many of the other honorees received similar letters from Helen Clark? Did the likes of Sam Neill, Witi Ihimaera, Ranginui Walker and Vincent O'Sullivan get a letter from the former PM? One thing seems to be sure though - rumours that Helen Clark still runs the Labour Party by text message from New York do not seem to be an exaggeration!