Auckland woman Lexie Matheson has become an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her work on transgender rights.
Ms Matheson realised she was transgender in her early 50s, and has spent the past 15 years fighting as an advocate for the community.
"We're not protected by the Human Rights Act, and I was thinking this morning, what do I really think about this honour? I think I'd trade it in to see two words -- gender identity -- put in the Human Rights Act. I'd trade just about anything."
She couldn't believe it when she got the news.
"I read the letter and I put it down on the couch next to me, and my family got really excited. It took a while to sink in. I thought, 'Oh, that's nice'. Then about an hour later I thought, 'Oh my god -- it's the honours list.'"