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Tessa Duder appointed a CNZM in the Queen's Birthday Honours List


The swimming community celebrates the inclusion of Tessa Duder in the recent Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Tessa was appointed Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for services to literature, accompanying her OBE awarded in 1994.


In swimming circles, Tessa (nee Staveley) was prominent in butterfly and individual medley events, winning national titles from 1957-­1959. While pioneering the “new” butterfly stroke for women in New Zealand, Tessa’s undoubted pinnacle came at the 1958 Cardiff Empire Games with her silver medal in the 110 yards butterfly. Deservedly named 1959 New Zealand  Swimmer of the Year, Tessa was a member of the strong Newmarket Swimming Club in Auckland, under the tutelage of Jack Lyons, a highly regarded coach of the era. She retired from competitive swimming in the early 1960s to focus on a career in journalism. 

But the name Tessa Duder will be known to most as the prolific author of novels for young readers, including the popular “Alex” quartet that draws on her previous swimming experience. The output of Tessa’s writing, spanning young adult fiction, educational non-­fiction and contemporary short stories has earned innumerable national and international awards and numerous invitations to address conferences and workshops here and overseas. Tessa remains an active writer and respected member of the literary community, enjoying a range of recreational interests including sailing, theatre, music and whanau.