The writer, poet and painter, Albert Wendt, says formally receiving the country's highest honour has been a marvellous occasion for him and his family.
Prof Wendt was given the Order of New Zealand at Government House in Auckland on Wednesday morning by Governor-General, Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae.
The award is a distinction only 20 living New Zealanders can have at any one time.
Sir Jerry said in the ceremony that the medal Prof Wendt received had been held by the late writer Margaret Mahy.
Prof Wendt says it's an absolute honour to wear her medal.
He also says it's a day for the people who helped him get where he is, including his family, students and friends.
Professor Wendt says he's working on a new novel and will host another exhibition of his paintings.