Retired All Black Richie McCaw is humbled to become a member of the exclusive Order of New Zealand, he says.
McCaw will be by far the youngest member of the order, which includes people such as Helen Clark, Jim Bolger, Sir Murray Halberg and Dame Kiri te Kanawa.
Speaking on a video posted on his Facebook page he said it was an honour to be alongside such people. And he went on to praise his fellow players.
"I've loved every day of playing for the All Blacks and am proud of what we've been able to achieve.
"I just saw myself as an ordinary Kiwi kid who managed to live my dream, so it goes with out saying that receiving the Order of New Zealand is something I'm really, really proud of."
McCaw was an All Black for 14 years and was the captain of the team for nine of those years.
He led two Rugby World Cup-winning teams before announcing his retirement in November.
McCaw, who has previously said he would not want a knighthood, will still be known as Mr McCaw, since the honour is non-titular for people who do not already have a title.
Take a look back at Richie McCaw's career
Membership of the Order of New Zealand is normally confined to 20 people.
McCaw joins two other sportsmen on the list: a fellow former All Black captain, Sir Brian Lochore; and champion athlete Sir Murray Halberg.
In a Facebook post McCaw said:
"It's an incredible honour to receive the Order of New Zealand. To join the list of some truly great New Zealanders is exceptionally humbling. To have my rugby career recognised in this way is very special. I've been so lucky to have played with some truly awesome men and while I receive this award, my team-mates are a huge part of our success over the years. "
Other members include opera singer Dame Kiri te Kanawa and film maker Sir Peter Jackson.
New dames and knights
One rung down the list are the Dames and Knights Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
One of these awards has gone to corporate leader and high-profile government consultant Paula Rebstock, who becomes Dame Paula.
In the other, Cannes-winning film director Jane Campion becomes Dame Jane.
Dame Jane, whose 1993 feature The Piano won three Academy Awards said she was initially not sure about the honour.
"I was with some friends and we were writing the second series of Top of the Lake and and they all went 'go for it!' And I thought, oh you know, maybe I'm being a bit serious. So I think it's really lovely."
The list also has two new knights: Supreme Court judge Terence Arnold and champion shearer David Fagan.
Sir David was at the forefront of competitive shearing for more than 30 years before retiring in April. He has been an individual world champion five times and has 642 open championship wins under his belt.
He said he was not expecting his friends to call him Sir David.
"I'm sure I'll get a bit of ribbing from my mates, but at the same time I think it's something I had to accept not just for myself but because it's so many other people involved whether it be the immediate family or wider family but certainly that real community. I think it's a real tick for the achievements of real New Zealanders."
Sir David said he was still heavily involved in shearing as the chairman of Shearing Sports New Zealand.
New Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit include mental health expert Max Abbott, Māori leader Robin Hapi, international businessman Chris Liddell and central Otago identity John Lee.
Mr Lee developed the Cardrona Alpine Resort, the Snow Farm and the Southern Hemisphere Proving Ground, all of which continue to operate today.
Veteran press gallery journalist John Armstrong, who has just retired due to Parkinson's Disease, has become an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
The same award has gone to former All Black Dan Carter, broadcaster Bill Francis, former All Black doctor John Mayhew and former Silver Ferns captain and coach Waimarama Taumaunu.
Awards as Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit go to several retiring All Blacks: Keven Mealamu, Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith.
Three people connected with the Pike River mining disaster - Bernie Monk, Carol Rose and Colin Smith - have also been honoured in this category.