Mount Maunganui man, Jim Barker, was presented with the New Zealand Order of Merit on behalf of the Queen.
Mr Barker was at home surrounded by family when Tauranga mayor Stuart Crosby presented the award on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen.
Mr Barker received his honour in the New Year 2016 Honours List.
Mayor Crosby said it was an honour to present the insignia to Mr Barker.
"It truly was a privilege to be able to formally recognise this great New Zealander for all that he has given to the community and his investment in the industry of transport and farming."
Mr Barker, a coal-miner's son from Huntly, was born in 1938. In 1963, Mr Barker and his brother-in-law bought Otorohanga Transport Ltd (OTL), a small general carrying company which went on to become one of New Zealand's biggest locally owned and operated transport companies and now includes Stocklines, Freightlines, Bulklines and Streamline.
After problems experienced with transporting stock across the Cook Strait, Mr Barker and partners purchased a ship in 1992, the Straitsman, and Strait Shipping Ltd was formed.
Through market research they identified the potential for an increase in demand in linehaul, bulk and general freight, resulting in the establishment in 1993 of Freight Lines Ltd. By 2002 they had expanded the business to include a Cook Strait passenger ferry service named after his wife Bev Barker which is called Bluebridge.
Mr Barker's contribution to his industry and community includes the introduction of a driver training scheme to address a shortage of truck drivers; supporting the introduction of the iShift transmission in trucks imported into New Zealand, contributing to safer and more fuel efficient truck transport; a community support programme that contributes more than $120,000 per annum to a number of community groups; providing significant support to the Neurological Foundation of New Zealand, the Child Cancer Foundation, CCS Disability Action and the Kaipupu Sanctuary; providing support to those in need, through transporting supplementary feed for farming communities in times of drought, mining equipment following the Pike River mining disaster, and emergency supplies in response to the Christchurch earthquakes.
The New Zealand Order of Merit is awarded to those "who in any field of endeavour, have rendered meritorious service to the Crown and the nation or who have become distinguished by their eminence, talents, contributions, or other merits".