Former Auckland Grammar headmaster and All Black captain John Graham is among seven prominent New Zealanders made knights or dames in the Queen's Birthday Honours today.
Auckland philanthropist Rosie Horton and Katerina Te Heikoko Mataira, from Hamilton, who has helped lead the revival of the Maori language, have been made Dames Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, and Court of Appeal judge Grant Hammond, Anzco Foods founder Graeme Harrison, Manawatu businessman Patrick Higgins and arts patron James Wallace join Sir John as Knights Companion.
Whilst we offer our congratulations to all those who have been honoured in any way, there are a couple of stand-outs to us. Sir John Graham has made an wonderful contribution to education and to sport. A former All Black captain and stalwart of Auckland rugby, he had a long tenure as headmaster at Auckland Grammar School. Since his retirement he has been involved in a number of community organistations including Parents Inc., and he is also remembered for a term as manager of the New Zealand cricket team at a time when under Steve Rixon's coaching and Graham's management, they achieved some strong results.
Having been brought up in the Manawatu, we are well aware of the influence of the Higgins name. Sir Pat Higgins is now chairman of the family-owned group of companies which has built all manner of roads and other civil engineering projects throughout the country and beyond. But the Higgins name is also synonomous with sport in the Manawatu, and with support of a number of community projects. Sir Pat's honour is richly deserved.
We offer our heartiest congratulations to Sir John, Sir Pat, and everyone else who has been honoured this year. Your service, in whatever way it has been delivered has not gone unnoticed, and the recognition you have received is a fitting reward for a lifetime of service above self.