Dame Valerie Adams

Three new Dames and fours Sirs were announced in the New Year’s Honours list. One of these is Dame Valerie Adams.

She is the youngest woman to receive this title, aged only 32. Most Honours go to much older people to recognise the good work they have done for our country over the years. Valerie Adams is a world champion shot putter. She won at two Olympics: Beijing and London, and has won four times in World Championships. She has encouraged others to take part in athletics not only in shot put. She is a role model for young people.

Valerie was born in Rotorua to a Tongan mother and English father. She has had a very successful career as an athlete since winning the shot put at the World Youth Games in Hungary in 2001.

Many people know of her brother Steven Adams who is a famous basketball player. He plays for the Oklahoma Thunders. He is 2.13m tall and Valerie is 1.93m.

Listen to New Year’s Honours to hear more about these Honours.


• Dame – same as Sir but for women; it is the top honour
• honours – a title which shows respect for that person
• role model – a person who is admired by other, especially young people who want to be like this person, the show a good example for others to follow
• championships – a top competition; the winner is a champion
• the shot put – a competition where a shot putter “puts” or “throws” the shot with one hand; a shot is a metal ball weighing 4kg for women; a shot putter is a person who takes part in this competition
• Tonga – a group of islands in the Pacific Ocean

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