Seven knights named in NZ honours list

Equestrian great Mark Todd and broadcaster Paul Holmes have been made knights in New Zealand's new year's honours.

Sir Mark, who secured his fifth medal at a sixth Olympic Games when claiming bronze in the teams event at London, expects to be subject to a bit of ribbing from his rivals, but he vows to stay the same.

"It's going to take a little while to get used to it. It's not going to change who I am or what I do," the 56-year-old said.

Sir Paul, who is battling cancer after undergoing heart surgery earlier this year and has stepped down from his television and radio roles, said the honour came out of the blue.

"It was completely unexpected," he told AAP after being rung by Prime Minister John Key on Christmas Day informing him of the honour.

Sir Mark and Sir Paul join philanthropist Owen Glenn, former Waitakere mayor Bob Harvey, Ngai Tahu chairman Mark Solomon, Allied Press boss Julian Smith and Justice Mark O'Regan in becoming Knight Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Businesswoman Wendy Pye, whose educational companies are global leaders, becomes a dame as does High Court judge Judith Potter.

No one received the nation's top honour - the Order of New Zealand - after four additional members were made members at the Queen's Birthday Honours.

New Zealand's success at the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics has been recognised with gold medallists not previously honoured being appointed Members of The New Zealand of Merit (MNZM).

Rowers Hamish Bond, Eric Murray, Joseph Sullivan, Nathan Cohen, canoeist Lisa Carrington, sailors Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie and paralympians swimmer Mary Fisher and cyclists Phillipa Gray and Laura Fairweather all get the same honour.

Celebrated chef Fleur Sullivan, of Fleurs Place fame in Moeraki is made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit while Auckland restaurateur Tony Astle of Antoine's becomes an Officer of The New Zealand of Merit (ONZM).

Former Kiwis and Manly rugby league coach Graham Lowe and former headmaster of Auckland Grammar John Morris also receive the ONZM as does Rawiri Paratene, best known for his role as Koro in the 2002 film Whale Rider, for his services to film, television and theatre.