Now deputy chair of New Zealand Rugby, the three-time Women's Rugby World Cup winner, twice as captain, has been part of another Rugby World Cup triumph by the Black Ferns in November, but also a driver for more professionalism in the women's game.
Dr Palmer, a 35-Test Black Fern, told Radio New Zealand she was unsure about accepting the honour but felt the recognition it acknowledged was more than for her efforts.
She was driven to help others and didn't like the limelight.
"I had to think long and hard about it, but I decided that it was all those people that had gone before me – who didn't get the recognition that they deserved – that I was representing," she said.
Providing an example, so others could see what was possible was something to be proud of, she said.
"This is something that I felt I wanted to do for my whānau, and for other Māori women."
She hinted that 2023 might be her last year on the board of New Zealand Rugby, and while taking women's rugby to the next level had been an incentive for her, and she now has her sights set on some advances in Māori rugby and possibly caps for Māori All Blacks.
Administration was no longer just about lifting participation in the game. Instead, she said it was about adopting a holistic approach to growing women's and Māori rugby.
Dr Palmer's place in the women's game grew with her steps into administration. She saw the Women's Provincial Championship re-named the Farah Palmer Cup in 2016, the same year she became the first woman appointed to the board of New Zealand Rugby.
Inducted into World Rugby's Hall of Fame in 2014, she became deputy chair of New Zealand Rugby in 2021.
The honours protocols meant the Black Ferns' Women's World Cup in November could not be recognised as it fell outside the time for consideration.