Alf’s mood today is much the same as it was yesterday.
He is in a slough of despondency after reading the NZ Herald’s report on the New Year list of gongs and finding he has been overlooked. Again.
But he has a generous heart and is willing to acknowledge that Tariana Turia is a worthy recipient of a damehood.
She might not be altogether thrilled, however, because the gong was reported like this:
Ellen Adrienne, Lady Stewart, ONZM, QSM, Christchurch, for services to the arts and business
The Honourable Tariana Turia, Wanganui, for services as a member of Parliament.
Not if she she could dictate how these matters are reported.
It should be Whanganui
But spelling isn’t the only matter at issue.
Tariana lost a few brownie points with Alf when she admitted she might have turned down the honour:
“In the first instance I thought I might not take it but they [her whanau] said it’s not really for me, it’s for our whanau, hapu and iwi – for all the people I have worked alongside,” she said.
“It’s a shared thing so I guess when you look at it in that context it does make it easier to give consideration to accepting it.”
But while she seems to have gone overboard with this sharing thing, her remarks to Stuff suggest she does appreciate that Alf has been hard done by.
Turia said the honour was as much for her people as it was for her.
“It’s humbling really because there are so many people out there who do such great work, so to be honoured in this way, for me, is more of an honour for my hapu and iwi.”
Alf has no doubt she was thinking of him when she spoke of the many people out there who do such great work.
Another thought strikes him, as he muses on who has been honoured and for what reason.
A Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit should go down real big on the American side of her bloodline, because Americans aren’t eligible for knighthoods or damehoods – not since they rebelled against the Crown back in whenever and became a republic.
Notwithstanding their being ineligible, Americans have a high regard for dames and one of the hits in the musical South Pacific was “There is Nothing Like a Dame”.
If memory serves correctly, it was sung by a bunch of sailors – probably randy ones, because they all longed for women in their lives.
But that’s to digress.
Alf also salutes Joseph Frank Babich, of Auckland, who was given a bauble of some sort for services to the wine industry. He has been responsible for keeping the member for Eketahuna North in good spirits on many occasions.
One of the awards is somewhat puzzling however.
Just a few names are listed as recipients of the New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration.
More notably, one recipient is unnamed.
He is (drum roll, please) …
Serviceman B (name withheld for security reasons), for services to the New Zealand Defence Force.
Alf has some difficulties with this.
Without knowing who he is we can’t judge if the award was deserved or not.
Moreover, if the recipient is to remain anonymous, he can never proudly wear his gong on his chest.
What’s he going to do with it?
Lock it away in his safe?
You can be damned sure Alf would proudly wear any gong that came his way.