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Late pioneering athlete recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours

Ministers’ release: 3 June 2019

Sport & Recreation Minister Grant Robertson today acknowledged the late Yvette Corlett (nee Williams) who has become a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

“This is a special recognition for the ground breaking role Dame Yvette played when becoming the first female athlete to win an Olympic Gold medal in 1952 in the long jump event,” Grant Robertson said

The honour was approved by Her Majesty and took effect on 12 April 2019. Dame Yvette had agreed to accept the honour before she died on 13 April 2019.

“Dame Yvette paved the way for many female athletes who still pay homage to their own successes today. This award also recognises her continued work within sport and the wider community throughout her life”

Graham Lowe, known primarily for his role within rugby league has also become a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to youth and education.

Having been appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2013 following his rugby league coaching career, Sir Graham has devoted his time to supporting teenagers struggling with school or getting employment.

Other notable sporting Honours include Scott Dixon and Yvonne Willering who become Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Both Sarah Hirini, current Captain of the Black Fern Sevens and Bryan Waddle, broadcaster receive the New Zealand Order of Merit.

“Although these distinguished Honours recipients did not get into sport for the accolades, it is incredibly important that we acknowledge their success as we look to inspire the next generation,” Grant Robertson said.

Updated on 4th June 2019