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Xena Princess Of Merit
30 March 2006

It may not have the glitter of Hollywood awards but it did have a regal touch. Actress Lucy Lawless, otherwise known as Xena Warrior Princess, was among numerous Kiwis honoured at investiture ceremonies at Government House.

Made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year Honours list, Lawless received her insignia in Auckland for services to entertainment and the community. Other recipients include Supreme Court Judge Andrew Tipping, golfing hero Michael Campbell, former All Black Andrew Mehrtens, cyclist Sarah Ulmer and musicians Bic Runga and Midge Marsden.

Physics expert Paul Callaghan was given the highest honour, Principal Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to science. These are the last investiture ceremonies for Dame Silvia Cartwright, whose term ends in August.

"Our honours recognise achievement on behalf of, and for, all New Zealanders. They recognise community involvement, selfless dedication, bravery, ingenuity, intelligence and talent," she said.