Richie Guy excelled in the hard, heads-down world of rugby scrums, playing nine matches as an All Black prop in 1971-72 and becoming a Northland legend with 91 games in Cambridge blue.
He then began a distinguished career as a rugby administrator but did not hang up his boots until he was 63.
Now 71, he has been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen's Birthday honours list for his services to rugby.
Mr Guy said he was honoured and humbled to receive the award.
He wanted to thank the people who had nominated him, his wife Judy, his late parents Ernie and Molly, his five brothers and sister, his daughter and son and all others who had helped him devote his time and efforts to rugby.
Richie Guy was born in Wellington and spent his early years in Hawke's Bay and Auckland, where his father had a poultry farm.
The family moved to Waipu when Richie was 15, swapping chooks for cows. It began his work as a dairy farmer, which in recent years he has exchanged for fattening bullocks and grazing dairy stock.
Mr Guy joined the New Zealand Rugby Union Council in 1984 and managed the All Blacks team that won the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987.
He became chairman of the New Zealand Rugby Football Union (1996-97) and played a major role in creating the South Africa, New Zealand and Australia Rugby Agreement in 1996. The sale of Tri-nation broadcasting rights to News Corporation was a key factor in turning rugby professional.
Mr Guy has been a dedicated member of the Waipu Rugby Club for most of his life.
He has served as chairman of the North Auckland Rugby Union and of Sport Northland.
He was named a "Rugby Legend" as part of the Living Legends Programme last year.
Ernie Guy played for Wellington and was a North Island reserve in 1939.