A Napier Boys' High School old boy awarded the Queen's Service Medal for his services to pipe bands dedicated it to the man who "gave the bagpipes to me" - his father.

Playing since the age of 5, Murray Mansfield is one of New Zealand's top bagpipers who has played with seven pipe bands, is a multi-time winner of premier solo piping competitions, and whose music has been heard around the world.

"Mum and Dad both played bagpipes, so not playing wasn't really an option," he said. "It was just a big part of my life growing up."

As well as playing in nine World Championships in Scotland, Mr Mansfield's accolades include being the lone piper at Sir Edmund Hillary's funeral, and at the 90th anniversary and centenary Anzac Day ceremonies at Gallipoli.

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He also composes pieces, such as the lament he played at the centenary called We Will Remember Them.

"It was a huge honour to be there," he said. "I think the entire [musical] contingent were there to do something for the New Zealanders [who died] in Turkey ... there was a huge sense of pride."

The man "born and bred" in Napier has resided in Palmerston North, based mostly at Ohakea Air Force Base, since joining the air force in 1989.

Performing at military events had led Mr Mansfield to "getting more gigs", he said, such as being designated Queen's Piper for the 2003 royal visit to New Zealand.

"I've just been lucky," he said. "I've been in the right place at the right time."

As well as teaching him to play, Mr Mansfield said his father also taught him to "give back". He does this by teaching the instrument to as many as he can, and often for free.

He has also tutored in pipe bands in Marlborough, Nelson, Wairarapa, Manawatu and Tawa since 1991, been a piping tutor at the national piping summer schools in Palmerston North and Christchurch since 1997, and has tutored solo pipers since 1999.

Now he is passing on his knowledge to another generation, by teaching one of his daughters the instrument.