The Governor-General, Hon Sir Anand Satyanand, will host an investiture ceremony on Wednesday 17 February 2010 at Government House Auckland for former New Zealand Prime Minister Rt Hon Helen Clark.
Helen Clark, who is now the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme in New York, was made a Member of the Order of New Zealand (ONZ), New Zealand's highest honour, in the 2010 New Year's Honours list for services to New Zealand.
The Order of New Zealand was established by Royal Warrant in 1987 and is awarded "to recognise outstanding service to the Crown and people of New Zealand in a civil or military capacity." The badge of the Order consists of an oval medallion in gold and coloured enamels, bearing in the centre the design of the shield of the New Zealand Coat of Arms within a Kowhaiwhai rafter pattern. The ribbon is red ochre (kokowai) with a narrow white stripe towards either edge. Helen Clark will receive the Insignia formerly worn by the late Sonja Davies, who died in 2005.
The Order comprises The Queen as Sovereign, and Ordinary, Additional and Honorary members. Ordinary membership is limited to 20 people living at any time. There are currently 17 Ordinary Members; six Additional Members and one Honorary Member. More information about the Order can be found here: http://www.dpmc.govt.nz/honours/overview/onz.html
The investiture ceremony will be at 11am on Wednesday 17 February and media wanting to attend this ceremony must contact Antony Paltridge, Public Affairs Manager (021 470 583), at Government House by 5pm on 16 February.
Rt Hon Helen Clark was the longest serving leader of the New Zealand Labour Party and became Prime Minister of New Zealand for three consecutive terms from 1999 to 2008. She was the first female Prime Minister to win office at an election and the fifth longest serving Prime Minister of New Zealand. She was the second woman elected to represent an Auckland electorate when she became Member of Parliament for Mt Albert in 1981, a position she held for 28 years.
Helen Clark was a member of the New Zealand Labour Party for many years and held positions at every level of the party. She served as a member of the Party's New Zealand Executive for ten years. She was President of the Labour Youth Council, an executive member of the party's Auckland Regional Council, a member of the Policy Council, and secretary of the Labour Women's Council.
She was Minister of Housing, Conservation and Health in the Fourth Labour Government and served as Deputy Prime Minister between August 1989 and November 1990. She was Deputy Leader of the Opposition and the Opposition spokesperson for Health and Labour in 1992, and became Leader of the Opposition in 1993.
During her time as Prime Minister, she was active in policy development across economic, social, environment, cultural and international portfolios. As well as being Prime Minister, she was Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, and Minister in Charge of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service. She represented New Zealand internationally on many occasions.