Six New Zealanders who played key roles at the FIFA Women’s World Cup have been recognised in the New Year Honours List.
The list is headed by Sarai Bareman, who grew up in West Auckland and became the most influential leader in the women’s game, as head of women’s football for FIFA. She will become a Dame.
Aucklander Dave Beeche is awarded a CNZM after his role as Chief Executive of the tournament.
NZ Football president Johanna Wood, the inaugural Chair of FIFA’s first World Cup Legacy Committee. also receives a CNZM.
Aucklander Jane Patterson has been awarded the ONZM after leading a team of more than 200, in her role as Chief Operating Officer, to deliver the New Zealand stages of the World Cup.
The co-captains of the Football Ferns at the tournament, Ali Riley and Ria Percival, have been recognised for their services to football, receiving the MNZM.
Here are the award recipients with the citations that accompanied their announcement on December 30, 2023.
Dame companion (DNZM)
Sarai-Paea Bareman, Zurich, Switzerland, for services to football governance
“Sarai Bareman has been contributing to football internationally and in New Zealand for a number of years.
“Mrs Bareman was initially the Finance Manager for the Football Federation of Samoa and then Chief Executive Officer between 2008 and 2014.
“In 2014, she became Deputy General Secretary of the Oceania Football Confederation. In 2015, she was appointed as the only female member of FIFA’s Reform Committee, advocating for increased numbers of women in leadership and the prioritisation of women’s football.
“Consequentially, the first FIFA Women’s Football Division was established in 2016 and she was appointed as FIFA’s first Chief Women’s Football Officer, overseeing the delivery of the Women’s World Cups, the development of the game across the 211 member countries and increasing the number of women at all levels of football.
“She was instrumental in hosting the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand and Australia, the most attended women’s sporting event in history with a record number of attendees in New Zealand for a football match, men’s or women’s.
“That record was broken three times during the tournament, with the final number sitting at 43,217 attendees.
“Mrs Bareman launched the first ever global women’s football strategy in 2018, encouraging empowerment through football and growing the game.”
Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM)
David Kenrick Beeche, Remuera, Auckland, for services to sports administration
“Dave Beeche has been Chief Executive Officer of the FIFA Women’s World Cup (FIFA WWC) Australia and New Zealand 2023, leading teams from both New Zealand and Australia to deliver the event.
“Mr Beeche served as CEO for the successful FIFA Under-20 World Cup tournament in New Zealand in 2015. He led delivery of the 2023 FIFA WWC, navigating the Trans-Tasman model and the added complexity of COVID-19, to deliver a tournament which broke multiple records.
“The tournament attendance totalled 1,978,274 spectators across 64 matches, beating the attendance of the last World Cup hosted by France (which attracted 1,131,312 spectators across 52 matches).
“He ensured the benefits of the tournament were shared across New Zealand, with the four host cities of Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Dunedin and seven-base camps to host the teams in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, allowing regional spread and national engagement opportunities for New Zealanders.
“The pricing model for the tournament ensured New Zealanders, particularly families, were able to attend while also promoting maximum opportunities to attend matches.
“Mr Beeche was CEO of Triathlon New Zealand from 2016 to 2021, developing a participation and High-Performance Programme with a range of commercial partnerships enabling a raised profile and participation for the sport.”
Dr Johanna Julene Wood, Palmerston North, for services to football governance
“Johanna Wood has contributed to women’s football in New Zealand since 2010.
“Dr Wood was Chair of Central Football between 2010 and 2018 and a member of the Board from 2006. She was elected to the New Zealand Football Executive Committee in 2018 and served as Vice President, before becoming the first female President in 2019.
“In her first year of leadership, the Board achieved 40 per cent female representation around the board table for the first time, which has since been maintained.
“She was appointed as the Oceania representative to the FIFA Council in 2019, consisting of 37 members focusing on the strategic direction of FIFA, and was re-elected for a second term in 2023.
“She led the bidding for the hosting rights of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, with New Zealand co-hosting the tournament with Australia. She has been a member of the Red Sox Club in Manawatu and was made a Life Member of Central Football in 2020.
“Dr Wood was the inaugural Chair of FIFA’s first World Cup Legacy Committee, driving collaboration across the Asia-Pacific region, ensuring a lasting legacy for the tournament across New Zealand.
“The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 was the most attended women’s sporting event in history, which saw a record number of attendees in New Zealand for a men’s or women’s football match.”
Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM)
Jane Frances Patterson, MNZM, Ponsonby, Auckland, for services to sports administration
“Jane Patterson was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2016 for her services to sports administration.
“After a period working abroad, Ms Patterson returned to New Zealand in early 2020 and assumed the role of Project Director for New Zealand Football with a remit to deliver the Initial Operating Phase (IOP) for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.
“In early 2021, she was appointed Chief Operating Officer (New Zealand) for the tournament. She led the New Zealand office of more than 200 staff to deliver the highly successful and world-class tournament which, among other things, demonstrated New Zealand’s major event capabilities and showcased the country, its people and culture.
“The event delivery honoured New Zealand’s cultural heritage throughout the tournament with initiatives that included Māori and Aboriginal designs in brand marketing, Māori performances at all official ceremonies, flying the national and first nation’s flags in all stadiums, and the distribution of tens of thousands of poi in all stadiums as part of the event’s infotainment programme.”
Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM)
Ria Dawn Percival, Welwyn Garden City, UK, for services to football
“Ria Percival is a midfielder for the Football Ferns and is New Zealand’s most capped player with 166 international appearances.
“Ms Percival has been the first New Zealander to play in the Football Association’s Challenge (FA Cup) Cup final in 2019 with West Ham United. She represented New Zealand in the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in 2006 and made her senior international debut later that year against China.
“Since 2006 she has played in five World Cups, including the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia, four Olympic Games including the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, and has scored a total of 15 goals.
“During her time with Auckland club Lynn-Avon United, she won her first league and cup double and became the youngest-ever winner of the coveted National Knockout Cup Final MVP award.
“She has played professionally with several clubs including F.C Indiana in the United States, Ottawa Fury in Canada, FFC Frankfurt and FF USV Jena, making 77 appearances for the latter. She joined West Ham United in 2018, making 25 appearances including the 2019 FA Women’s Cup final.
“She was named in the International Federation of Football’s Oceania Dream Team in 2021. Ms Percival co-captained the Football Ferns during the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.”
Alexandra Lowe Riley, Woodland Hills, California, for services to football
“Ali Riley is captain of the Football Ferns and is the second player to earn 150 caps for New Zealand.
“Ms Riley represented New Zealand in the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in 2006 and made her debut for the Football Ferns in 2007 against Australia. She has represented New Zealand across five World Cups and four Olympic Games, including the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
“At the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia, she captained New Zealand to the country’s first World Cup victory ever in the opening game against Norway.
“She has been central in efforts that secured improved conditions and prize money for players at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, leading a player engagement project involving 150 players from 25 national teams, the largest collective action undertaken by women’s footballers.
“She is a current Board member of the New Zealand Professional Footballers’ Association, representing players’ interests and helping evolve the professional game nationally.
“She has played for several clubs across various countries since 2010 and received national and international Player of the Year awards. She has been captain of Angel City FC in the USA National Women’s Soccer League since 2022.
“Ms Riley published her first book, a cookbook titled ‘Girls Gone Veg’ in 2023.”