Beloved children's author Joy Cowley has been left brimming with zeal for New Zealand as she receives the country's top accolade and leads a New Year Honours list laden with artists and contributors to communities.
"I thought 'Order of New Zealand' - that reminded me of a religious order - and I thought that was appropriate because I do feel religious about my country - it's sacred land," she told NZ Newswire of being made a Member of the Order of New Zealand.
Cowley is among 26 Kiwis being recognised for their contribution to arts and culture this year, the group only surpassed by the 76 being applauded for their work in the community.
Among the latter, Maori leader and health advocate Rangimarie Naida Glavish and philanthropic fashion brand founder Denise L'Estrange-Corbet head the field, both named Dame Companions.
Parliamentarians have also had a look-in.
Former Labour Party stalwart and cabinet minister Annette King has also been named a dame for her more than three decades in the house.
"The actual nomination came from National and the letter of congratulations came from Jacinda [Ardern] - it went across both governments," she said.
"I was thrilled, it made it really special that both governments were involved and I will treasure that."
She's joined in damehood by Georgina Manunui te Heuheu, a cabinet minister in two National governments who since 2012 has been chairwoman of Maori Television's board. Her nomination recognises both her services to the state and Maori.
Former MP Peter Dunne and Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler have both also been made Companions of the order.
And it would hardly be a New Year Honours list without an All Blacks legend.
Winger and coach Bryan Williams has been made a Knight Companion for services to rugby in New Zealand and Samoa since the 1960s.
"I've loved rugby and fortunately rugby has loved me back," he said.
The year's other top accolades include knighthoods for former Court of Appeal justice Douglas White and Herbert John Te Kauru Clarke for his services to Maori and heritage preservation.