Monday, June 04, 2007

Happy Unbirthday, Mrs Windsor

All around the country today, people are not gathering together to celebrate our absentee head of state's unbirthday. Lacking the old pastime of handing out garters, thistles and baths, the NZ Cabinet has compiled a list of worthy people to receive an award from the traditional honours system which has been around for seven years.

OK, that's a bit rough. The Order of New Zealand has been around for twenty years. The ONZ is limited to twenty people at any one time (current membership 25) and established “to recognise outstanding service to the Crown and people of New Zealand in a civil or military capacity.” Current or previous holders of this honour include Jonathan Hunt (Appointed 2004), David Lange (Appointed 2002), Dame Cath (Appointed 2002) - mother of Judith Tizard HPMH (Holder of the PM's Handbag), and Mike Moore (Appointed just after the election in 1999). It is clear that the ONZ is an apolitical list, unless you are closely connected the Labour government.

Perhaps my angle is skewed from recently watching Yes Minister: Doing the Honours. Instead of the GCMG (God Calls Me God), we have ONZ (Our New Zeitgeist? One Noble Zoo?). Instead of civil servants sucking up for a KCMG, we have TV personalities getting awards for just doing their job:

ONZM awarded to Julie Christie for services to reality TV
ONZM awarded to Kevin Milne for services to consumer show Fair Go
ONZM awarded to Ginette McDonald for Lynn of Tawa
ONZM awarded to Tina Cross for being on the telly in the '70s
ONZM awarded to John Kirwan for "television advertisements he fronts which are credited with striking a chord with many viewers, particularly men, affected by depression."

Then there's the sports commendations. Ruben Wiki gets an ONZM for his services to rugby league. Nathan Astle got an MNZM for services to cricket, Susan Bunt for women's golf, Jonah Lomu for rugby, Albert McConnell for cycling, Rod Patterson for rugby, Sharon Sims for lawn bowls. The list goes on. There's even a hat tip to strictly NZ sports. David Fagan received an ONZM for services to shearing, while Bill Evans gets an MNZM for services to woodchopping.

Aha, civil servants! Knew they'd be in there somewhere. Director of Pharmac and Counties Manukau District Health Board member Prof Gregor Coster gets a CNZM. Leon Crosse gets an MNZM for outstanding services to the GCSB, although no-one can really say why. Superintendents Graham Emery and Grant O'Fee receive an MNZM for, you guessed it, services to policing. In fact, there's a whole bunch of cops getting QSMs for being cops.

Head of School at Unitec's Education department, Prof Carol Cardno, is author of many research papers including: Effective Workplace Cultures - The Tension Between Consulting and Workload, Towards a Subsumptive Theory of Distance Education: The Case of Providing Flexible Postgraduate Research Supervision for Distance Learners, and everyone's favourite, Practitioner research: Embracing epistemological diversity and celebrating pluralism in school-based educational management action research. She gets a QSO for her plain speaking services to educational administration and management.

Bugger all this for a laugh. We need some new honours and, since today is also Fred Dagg's unbirthday, it is time to unveil a more appropriate NZ commendations based on what he might have wanted perhaps:
  • The DOOR: The Decorative Order of Overdue Retirement
  • The GUMBOOT: Generally Unorthodox Mate of Bloody Original Objective Thinking
  • The DOG: Distinctive Order of Goodness
  • The WAL: Warrant of Able Larrikins