The Honours system is out of date and the best way to revitalise it is to change the way our Head of State is appointed.
Queen Elizabeth has nothing to do with the awards that are handed out at Queen's birthday weekend. The whole 'Royal Honours' system is administered by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and Government House acts on the advice of Parliament to award them. While some award winners like to think Buckingham Palace has given them the seal of approval it is misguided for anyone to believe the British Monarch has taken an active interest in his or her career. Believing a 'royal honour' is actually royal (and somehow more worthy) is an example of how disconnected many people are from the realities of our constitutional arrangements.
Recognising the value of people's contribution to society is an important part of New Zealand's cultural values but the way the current system operates does not reflect the core values of New Zealand society. We have a sexist system of Knights and Dames that privileges hetereosexual men over all others and a list of Queen's Service awards handed out in the name of someone that has not visited New Zealand since 2002.
It would be far more meaningful and of benefit to New Zealanders to have our own Head of State and a holiday weekend that celebrated life in Aotearoa. Handing out a second round of New Year's awards at Matariki would be a better way to recognise talented and committed Kiwis. Whether some awards carry titles with them is something yet to de decided but copying Britain's out-dated and gendered class system makes little sense in a diverse and progressive South Pacific nation like ours.
Changing the honours system would not be difficult. Kiwis have a can do attitude and we can do anything we set our minds to. It might happen before we become a republic and , as an organisation, we would welcome any effort to review the honours system as long as it was done in a fair and open way.
For New Zealand Republic, however, the focus of our campaign remains very clearly on the main goal - a New Zealand Head of State and a New Zealand republic.