An Honourable Year
New Zealand’s 2008 Beijing contingent was well represented in the New Year’s Honours list and included Christchurch Paralympics swimmer Sophie Pascoe, 16, board sailor Tom Ashley and shot putter Valerie Vili. In total, seven Olympic athletes received awards. Pascoe won three gold medals and a silver in China and learned of this most recent honour through the mail. “It was really unexpected,” Pascoe said. “I opened up this mail from the Government. It’s not the sort of thing you open up every day, so I was a bit shocked. Then I read it and I was really overwhelmed and honoured to be nominated.” In other fields, cinematographer Michael Seresin whose credits include Midnight Express, Angela’s Ashes and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and who established the Seresin Estate winery in Marlborough was made an ONZM for services to film and the wine industries. London-based chef Peter Gordon was made an ONZM and Treaty of Waitangi negotiator Dr Ngatata Love became the eighth person to be made a Principal Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.