Northland's Samara Nicholas says she had no idea who nominated her for an appointment as member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
The Whananaki resident said she was surprised to receive a letter telling her about the honour.
She was made a MNZM member for services to marine conservation and education, a field she has been working in for about 15 years.
She co-founded the Mountains to the Sea Conservation Trust in 2002 to educate young people about marine conservation through the programme Experiencing Marine Reserves (EMR).
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