Shot put hero Valerie Adams named Dame Companion of NZ Order of Merit in New Year's Honours List

Valerie Adams has been named a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit following the announcement of this year's New Year's Honours List.

Adams says her New Year’s Honour recognises her for who she is as a person and "not just the muscles".

Adams, who earns the title for services to athletics, was born in Rotorua as part of large family of 18 siblings - including NBA star Steven Adams.

She showed great promise in shot put since a young age when she won the World Youth Championships in 2001 of 16.81m when she was just 16.

She then became World Junior Champion the following year with a throw of 17.73.

Valerie Adams expressed her love to her fans in an interview with ONE News and had to fight back her tears as she signed off. Source: 1 NEWS

After claiming gold in 2007 over Belarusian rival Nadzeya Ostapchuk with a final round, Commonwealth record-breaking throw of 20.54m, Adams became one of a handful of athletes to win gold at Youth, Junior and Senior levels.

Adams told 1 NEWS the New Year's Honour is something completely different to winning a gold medal.

'I was squealing like a little girl," she said.

After getting a call from wrestler John Cena, Adams was next on the list for students at Henry Hill School. Source: Seven Sharp

"It's not like winning a gold medal. It's not like winning major events. This is something completely different but in, very much, a unique way."

The 32-year-old is also the first woman to win four consecutive individual titles at the World Track and Field Championships, achieving gold in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013.

Add to that two Olympic gold medals, three Commonwealth Games gold medals and three World Indoor Championship golds.

She has also won a bronze and four silver medals at the international level, most recently earning silver at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.

She currently holds the New Zealand, Oceanian, Commonwealth and equal World record for a personal best throw of 21.24 metres, which she set in August 2011.

Between 2010 and 2014 she achieved an unprecedented winning streak across 56 competitions.

Nationally she has won 14 New Zealand national women's shot put titles.

She has also received the Halberg Supreme Award, New Zealand's highest annual sporting honour, on three occasions and was named Halberg Sportswoman of the Year for seven consecutive years.

Adams was originally named on Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2009 New Year's Honour List.