Shelford, who played 66 games for the black, green and gold between 1991 and 1993, was honoured not only for his services to rugby but for his work as a men’s health advocate, in youth suicide prevention and as a champion of the Maori language.
The 63-year-old works in organisations providing community housing for the disabled and respite care for first responders.
Shelford, who retired from rugby in 1995, was All Blacks skipper between 1987 and 1990 and he was renowned for his physical toughness.
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“It’s a great accolade, a great honour,” Shelford said of his knighthood.
“It’s one of those things you never think will happen - I’d never thought about it before.
“I’ll wear it with pride for the family and all the organizations I work with. They’ll carry that with them because they’re my biggest supporters.”