2017 JASON WYNYARD NZ Order of Merit Queen's Honour List
by wynyardmm on 1 Jan 2017
Photo / John Stone
Champion Axeman Jason Wynyard in action on his home marae, Karetu, in the Bay of Islands, in 1997.
Wood chopping legend Jason Wynyard joins New Zealand Order of Merit
NEW ZEALAND HERALD
5:00 AM Saturday Dec 31, 2016
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Jason Wynyard has won more than 230 world championships and is unparalleled in wood chopping but he reckons being recognised in the Queen's New Year's Honours list is right up there, and even more important for his sport.
Wynyard - Northland's greatest world title winner - has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in the Queen's New Year's Honours List for services to wood chopping.
He started wood chopping aged just six, encouraged by his late father Pae - himself an accomplished axeman - and turned professional in 1996.
In November, Wynyard was crowned the best individual wood chopper in the world for the eighth time and despite all the world titles, says his MNZM is the most humbling occasion and a huge honour for him, but especially his sport.
"I'm really proud of it. It's not something you expect when you start out or can train for - and you don't do this for those honours - but it's a tremendous recognition for my sport and all the people who are involved in it and who have supported me all the way," Wynyard said.
"It's as much for all those people and my family - I couldn't do this without them all - and I'm really humbled by it. I really hope it rekindles interest in wood chopping in the north. There can't be many wood choppers who have been honoured like this."
The Northern Advocate caught up with Wynyard on the way back from a holiday in Coromandel as he was heading back north to compete in the Opononi Axemen's Carnival on New Year's Day tomorrow.
"I love competing there.
It's a great wood chopping carnival and such beautiful place. It's a great way to start the New Year too."
Wynyard said when he started out there were six or seven wood chopping carnivals in Northland over Christmas/New Year, but that was now down to two, so he hoped his accolade would spark more interest.
It's been a difficult last few months for Wynyard and his wife Karmyn. His father Pae died in August and Karmyn's mum Sue Lane died earlier this month.
"It's been really hard. Those two wonderful people were really supportive and influential to me and they would be proud to see me receive this honour," he said.
"Dad was never big on words, but he would be so proud. He was the one who got me started in wood chopping, and was pretty good at it himself, and he instilled in me good values and that work ethic."
Wynyard wanted to also give special thanks to late Northern Advocate sports editor Gary Frew and the newspaper.
"Gary Frew and the Northern Advocate were so supportive of me throughout and right from the very start Mr Frew followed me and the sport and gave it tremendous coverage."
Wynyard is also the father of young Kiwi basketballer Tai Wynyard who has a scholarship with Kentucky University in the US.
- NZ Herald