New Zealand to restore honours titles of Sir and Dame
New Zealand's conservative government is restoring the traditional titles of Sir and Dame for men and women honoured by Queen Elizabeth, who remains head of state of the one-time British colony, Prime Minister John Key announced on Sunday.
The titles were abolished nine years ago by the former Labour government headed by Helen Clark, who dubbed them "quaint trappings" of the independent country's past, dpa reported.
"This is about celebrating success," Key said, announcing that 85 men and women who have been awarded top ranking honours of the New Zealand Order of Merit since 2000 will be entitled to call themselves Sir or Dame.
Key, whose National Party ousted Labour at a general election in November, said Queen Elizabeth, who approved the Clark government's recommendation to drop the titles, had given approval for them to be reinstated.
Traditionally, the government of the day recommends a list of people to be given honours twice a year - on New Year's Day and in June to mark the queen's official birthday. The queen formally approves them.
The Key government's first list will be named on June 1.
The queen's representative in New Zealand, Governor General Anand Satyanand - the first person to be appointed to the position without a title - will become Sir Anand as soon as formalities are completed.
Clark said more than once that it was inevitable that New Zealand would drop the connection with the British monarch and become a republic at some time in the future but made no move in that direction during her nine years in power.