Whanganui District Health Board chairwoman Kate Joblin has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year Honours List.
She was awarded the honour for services to health.
Mrs Joblin, who was appointed board chair in 2007, has had a rough ride at the board's helm. There have been accusations of collusion with the Government to merge the board with MidCentral Health, and running down women's health services in the region, as well as a messy end to the employment of chief executive Memo Musa and conflict with other board members.
The Wanganui chartered accountant and mother of six says she believes in the power of a team approach.
In recent times the DHB had scored well in meeting national health targets and in September the National Health Board upgraded the Whanganui board from "intensive monitoring" to "performance watch".
Mrs Joblin said there were many people "who contribute in our community who are worthy of an award like this".
"I see this award as one for the team. I am a strong believer in the power of a team approach. That's how we get things done."
Mrs Joblin said it was the support she had at home from husband Ross and her "grandies", especially her mother, that had given her the time to have a career while bringing up their six children.
"They have allowed me to take up so many opportunities.
"In my accounting practice, I work with a great group - Gabrielle, Alica, Glenda and Peter, who are awesome and work in such a way that I can take time to fill my role at the DHB.
"A well-performing health service is so important to our community, especially the most vulnerable in our population. This is why I have put my energy into this area."
Mrs Joblin said she had been proud to chair the DHB since 2007.
"We are a DHB that has gone from strength to strength, due to the fantastic group of people who work there."
She said: "We sometimes forget that in New Zealand we have one of the best performing health sectors in the world, and Whanganui DHB is among the best." Mrs Joblin said that under the chief executive Julie Patterson, the DHB consistently punched above its weight and delivered quality services.
Family is important to Mrs Joblin, and on Friday the family received a phone call from son Josh in Berlin that newborn Isaak is the second grandchild for the Joblins.