Olympic champions top NZ Honours list

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New Zealand's greatest Olympian and Paralympian will enjoy new titles after topping the New Years Honours list.

Champion kayaker Lisa Carrington and dominant swimmer Sophie Pascoe have been made Dame Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Dame Lisa, 32, has won the K1 200 sprint at the last three Olympics, claiming three gold at this year's Tokyo Games and a new nickname: the GOAT in the boat.

"To be recognised in this way is a huge privilege and I'm very grateful," she told AAP.

"It will take some time for the magnitude of this honour to properly sink in."

Dame Sophie, 28, has eleven Paralympic gold medals, earned at the past four Games across a variety of disciplines.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern congratulated the pair.

"Sophie Pascoe is our greatest Paralympian ... a ground-breaker and trendsetter, she is a role model within and beyond the disability community and an advocate for equality," she said.

"No one who saw them will forget Lisa Carrington's golden days on the water in Tokyo earlier this year.

"But she is far more than our greatest ever Olympian. Humble and kind, she is a role model for girls and boys across the country and continues to give back through her coaching of young paddlers."

The two athletes are among six to be appointed dames or knights.

Former privacy commissioner Marie Shroff, Auckland City Missioner Chris Farrelly, health leader Jim Mann and Robert Gillies, the last remaining member of the storied 28th Maori Battalion that served in World War II, are also honoured.

"In accepting his honour, I know Bom (Sir Robert Gillies) does so reluctantly and wished to do so on behalf of all members of the Maori Battalion," Ms Ardern said.

"For decades he has represented the Battalion at national and international events and it's been an honour for me to meet him at Waitangi where we recently opened Te Rau Aroha, the museum of the 28th Maori Battalion."

In total, 183 Kiwis have been bestowed honours in the list, a slight majority of which are women.

"I never fail to be amazed by the outstanding things New Zealanders achieve, especially during the tough times," Ms Ardern said.

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