Kiwi sporting stars Dan Carter, Barbara Kendall and Lydia Ko - and one Aussie - were among 11 recipients formally invested with their Queen's Honours by Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy on Wednesday.
Carter, 37, retired from the All Blacks, after helping them to consecutive Rugby World Cup triumphs in 2015, and became an Officer of the NZ Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to rugby in the 2016 New Year's honours.
The first-five, who played 112 times for New Zealand, wore a neck brace to the ceremony, after undergoing surgery for an injury that saw him fail a medical test for French club Racing 92.
He removed the brace to receive his medal from Dame Patsy.
"I'm still recovering from neck surgery about five weeks ago," he said aftrerwards. "It all went well, which was pleasing, and I just want it to heal well, hence the reason I still have the neck brace on.
"I've been talking pretty closely with Sam Cane and how he's had to deal with it, so he's been giving me some encouragement."
All Blacks flanker Cane fractured his neck against South African last October and has not played since, although he is due to return to the Chiefs Super Rugby line-up shortly.
"To be recognised with something like this is really special moment for me and my family, who were here to celebrate it with me," said Carter.
"It's not the reason you play, but now that I've retired from international rugby, to be recognised for something like this is really humbling. It's something my children can grow up and be proud of."
Kendall, 51, who won gold, silver and bronze medals in boardsailing at consecutive Olympics, was made a Companion of the NZ Order of Merit (CNZM) for services to sport in the last New Year's honours, adding to her MBE (Member of the British Empire) in 1993.
She contested five Olympics and more recently, she has served on the International Olympic Committee, focusing on athletes' and women's right, and the environment.
Ko, 22, took time off from her professional golf schedule for the Auckland ceremony. She has been the world's top-ranked amateur and pro woman at various times of her career, and has been NZ Sportswoman of the Year three times, winning Halberg Award supreme honours in 2013.
She was also awarded the Member of NZ Order of Merit (MNZM) for services to golf in 2019 New Year's honours.
The Australian was honorary Kiwi Glenn Ashby, 41, who skippered Team New Zealand to America's Cup glory in 2017. He was made a Member of the NZ Order of Merit this year, after a career that saw him win 17 world titles over a variety of sailing classes, representing his country of birth.