Rebels get their medals: Topp Twins celebrate becoming Dames

The Topp Twins celebrated their new status as Dames at an unusual investiture ceremony in Auckland on Monday.

Those being honoured at the event were all women, in recognition of the 125th anniversary of women gaining the vote in New Zealand.

Lynda Topp reflected on how life has changed since she and sister Julie were made Dame Companions in the Queen's Birthday Honours in June.

"It's pretty cool the Queen said, 'Let's tick the box for these lesbians'," she remarked.

"There's been some lovely farmers who have put in some pretty spectacular curtseys, with the shorts, gumboots, tan line and stubbies."

They've now picked up the loot for those awards: a medal, a breast star and an insignia.

"The rebels finally get their medals," Lynda joked.

Other women honoured at the ceremony include singer Jackie Clarke, Valerie Adams' former coach Kirsten Hellier, and schoolteacher Marvis Singh, who has helped migrants settle in for nearly 20 years .

There was something new about this year's event. Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy placed Maori cloaks or korowai around the shoulders of those becoming Dames to reflect the high honour.

The Topp Twins say that honour is all thanks to family.

"We're taking our hat off to Mum and Dad today and really honouring them, because we're Dames because of them," Julie said.

Mr and Mrs Topp were there to see their daughters receive the country's top award.


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