A host of New Zealand Team athletes and sports administrators have been recognised in the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Tokyo Olympic champion rowers Emma Twigg, Grace Prendergast and Kerri Williams (nee Gowler) and Paralympic gold medallist javelin thrower Holly Robinson are among the athletes honoured.
Olympic and world rowing champion Prendergast and Gowler paired up to win gold at the 2014 world U23 championships.
They were unbeaten in the pair through 2017, winning the world title, and were part of the historic women’s eight who won gold at the 2019 world champs. At the Tokyo Olympics, Prendergast and Gowler won two medals – gold in the pair and silver in the eight – becoming the first Kiwi rowers to multiple medals at one Olympics.
Their teammate, rower Emma Twigg, produced one of the most unforgettable moments for the New Zealand team at the Tokyo Olympics. It was her fourth Olympic Games, coming out of retirement to compete, but it was her first time on the podium – becoming the first Kiwi woman to win the single sculls at an Olympics. In 2014 she was world champion and World Rowing’s female rower of the year. Twigg is also an active advocate for LGBTQIA+ athletes.
Paralympic champion Holly Robinson has also been recognised. The Dunedin javelin thrower is a three-time Paralympian and was flagbearer at the 2016 Rio Games, where she won silver in the javelin F46 event. She’s won three more silvers – at the 2017 and 2019 world championships and the 2018 Commonwealth Games – and finally won gold at last year’s Tokyo Paralympics.
The Silver Ferns' most-capped coach Ruth Aitken, has been named a Dame.
Aitken coached the Silver Ferns for 112 tests, and winning a World Cup and two Commonwealth Games titles during her nine-year tenure.
“Winning the world champs and two Commonwealth Games was amazing,” Aitken told LockerRoom.
“But even if I hadn’t had those - well, I wouldn’t have had my job for as long - but I would have still felt I’d been part of something so worthwhile," she says. “The highlight of my career was seeing people grow and develop, continue to contribute and be awesome people.
Pam Elgar has also been recognised for more than two decades working for hockey and women in sport.