A host of high performing athletes and a former NZOC CEO have been named in the 2023 New Years Honours list.
Rowing legends Hamish Bond and Eric Murray have been named Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM). The duo won gold medals in the coxless pair at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games and were unbeaten between 2009 and 2016 with 69 consecutive wins, claiming seven consecutive World Rowing Championship titles. Bond was also a member of the gold medal-winning men’s eight crew at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the only New Zealand male to win gold medals at three successive Olympics.
Former NZOC CEO Kereyn Smith joins Bond and Murray in being named a CNZM. Smith served as NZOC CEO for 11 years, overseeing a period of sustained success encompassing New Zealand’s representation at the 2012, 2016 and 2020 Summer Olympics and 2014, 2018 and 2022 Winter Olympics, as well as the 2010, 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Squash star Paul Coll is another with a new honour next to his name, being made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit after another successful year in 2022, his 12th season representing New Zealand on the world stage.
Coll became the first New Zealand male to reach the number one position in the Professional Squash Association World Rankings in March before winning the Windy City Open in Chicago and then defending his British Open crown. He went on to win gold in the men’s singles and mixed doubles at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in August.
2022 marked the year New Zealand claimed its first ever gold medals at the Winter Olympic Games, and the athletes responsible have also been recognised with honours. Nico Porteous and Zoi Sadowski-Synnott have both been made Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
The pair each picked up a gold medal at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, with Sadowski-Synnott also bagging a silver to complete her collection. Add several impressive performances at the World Championships and X Games, and the 21-year-olds have been quick to make their mark on their sports.
“It’s pretty nuts. I think we would both agree it’s pretty incredible to be so young and have the achievements that we have under our belts,” Porteous told Newstalk ZB of his and Sadowski-Synnott’s achievements. “We’re definitely very grateful and thankful for the support that we receive.”