New Zealand government confers Royal Honours and bravery awards to US-based recipients

Group photo of all New Zealand Honours recipients with Ambassador Mike Moore.

The Ambassador to the United States, Rt Hon Mike Moore, hosted an Investiture Ceremony at the New Zealand Embassy on Thursday,  10 May where a number of United States citizens and others received New Zealand government Royal Honours.

 
Ambassador Rt Hon Mike Moore also presented New Zealand Special Service Medal (Erebus) to recognise the service of four US citizens who were involved in “Operation Overdue” following the crash of Air New Zealand flight TE901 on Mount Erebus, Antarctica on 28 November 1979, with the loss of life of all 257 passengers and crew.

Ambassador Rt Hon Mike Moore conducted the investiture, on behalf of the Queen, to present the following honours: 

Peter Stuart Watson – appointed as an Ordinary Companion of New Zealand Order of Merit, announced on the New Year 2012 Honours List, for services to New Zealand – USA relations.  Dr. Peter Watson has continued to promote New Zealand - United States relations and established the American Friends of Christchurch to raise funds to support the recovery in Christchurch. 

John Henry Whitehead – appointed as an Ordinary Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, announced on the Queen’s Birthday 2011 Honours List, for services as Secretary to the Treasury. He became Secretary to the New Zealand Treasury in 2003, after holding a number of senior positions in the organisation. During the 1990s, he was the key Treasury official working on the Fiscal Responsibility Act. He effectively led the Treasury through the global recession. He is a recognised leader in the provision of economic advice in New Zealand and internationally. Mr. Whitehead was recently appointed Executive Director of the World Bank.

Richard Lee Armitage – appointed as an Honorary Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, announced on the Queen’s Birthday 2011 Honours List, for services to New Zealand – USA relations. Mr. Richard Armitage, who was Deputy Secretary of State in the United States from 2004 to 2005, has had a positive influence on the New Zealand-United States relationship through his championing of closer military ties and work for a productive trade relationship. He supports the New Zealand Defence Force’s contributions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Mr. Armitage has strongly argued for the New Zealand-United States free trade agreement.

Constance Ellen Lawn – appointed as an Honorary Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, announced on the New Year 2012 Honours List, for services to New Zealand - USA relations. Ms. Constance Lawn was the Radio New Zealand National Washington Correspondent for more than 20 years. Ms. Lawn has promoted New Zealand tourism and snow skiing through the many articles she has written on her time on New Zealand’s ski fields. 

Clayton Keith Yeutter – appointed as an Honorary Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, announced on the New Year 2012 Honours List, for services to New Zealand – USA relations. Mr. Clayton Yeutter has served two United States Presidents in the areas of agriculture and trade, and is currently involved in international commerce and finance. Through these roles he has helped to promote New Zealand interests for over 20 years. 

James Clovis Clad – appointed as an Ordinary Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, announced on the Queen’s Birthday 2011 Honours List, for services to New Zealand – USA relations. Mr. James Clad was a New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade diplomat in the 1970s and 1980s. He has helped to revise and restore the defence relationship between New Zealand and the United States on the basis of mutual interest.

Scott Ronald Dixon – appointed as an Ordinary Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, announced on the New Year 2009 Honours List, for services to motorsport.  Mr. Scott Dixon has been involved with motorsport for over 25 years. Mr. Dixon has won several racing championships around the world, including the Indianapolis 500 race. Mr. Dixon was the first New Zealand driver to win the 92nd Indianapolis 500 in 2008 and was the 18th driver to record a lights-to-flag victory.  He has won the IndyCar 17-race Series Championship in 2003 and 2008. 

Maurice Ugo Conti and Sophie Conti – awarded an Honorary New Zealand Bravery Medal for bravery, announced on the 2011 New Zealand Bravery Awards List. On 12 October 2008, Maurice and Sophie Conti rescued three civilian sailors off the coast of Suva after they picked up a “Mayday” call for help.  

Recipients of the New Zealand Special Service Medal (Erebus) include:

Commander David A. Srite, US Navy (Retired) - As Commanding Officer of VXE-6 Squadron, Commander Srite happened to be the navigator on a South Pole flight on the 28th of November 1979 that was diverted to find the downed Air New Zealand flight. His navigation was a key element of locating the Air New Zealand wreckage.

Commander Chaplain Lee S. Clark, US Navy (Retired) - Chaplain Lee Clark was posted as Chaplain to the US Naval Support Force, Operation Deep Freeze based in Williams Field from 1-12 December 1979. He was posted as a member of the remains handling team to provide pastoral support and voluntarily attached himself as the assistant to the Base Medical Officer who examined the remains as they were heli-lifted into the base. Together they handled directly 209 complete bodies and over 100 partial remains. 

Lieutenant Commander Edward Klonoski, US Navy (Retired) – As the co-pilot on a South Pole flight on the 28th of November 1979, his aircraft was responsible for locating the Air New Zealand wreckage.  His role as co-pilot included maintaining radio communications with his base and reporting on each pass over the crash site. 

Lieutenant Commander John Williamson, US Navy (Retired) - As a pilot in the VXE6, Sqn Cdr Williamson flew many recovery missions from the crash site and Williams Field in support of Operation Overdue.  

For more information about New Zealand Royal Honours visit www.gg.govt.nz/honours

For more information about the New Zealand Service Medal (Erebus) visit http://medals.nzdf.mil.nz/category/f5/f5c.html

 

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