It is early in the morning and a Tauranga sporting legend has just been told he is following in the footsteps of some truly remarkable people.
"We've called you here because you have been chosen as our Person of the Year," I tell Moss Burmester.
The swimmer pauses, looks down, momentarily smiles and then cautiously asks if he qualifies for the accolade as he is now based in Auckland.
Yes Moss, you do qualify, I tell him, as we sit down inside the Bay of Plenty Times offices.
"Wow, that's great. I don't know what to say. I really feel humbled to be picked. I feel very privileged."
Burmester is fiercely proud of being from Tauranga having lived here since he was a baby.
"I'm a real Bay boy at heart. The people here are more friendly and have got more time for you. Every time I drive back down here from Auckland and go past the Waihi Beach turn off I feel at home. It just feels awesome."
Awesome is an apt word to use when describing this affable, pleasant and driven individual. Successful is another considering his achievements which propelled him into the global limelight.
Thursday, March 16, 2006 is a date that will be forever etched in the 25-year-old's memory. It was on this day at the Melbourne Aquatic Centre he won New Zealand's first Commonwealth Games swimming gold medal since Danyon Loader in Canada in 1994.
But it was not just the sight of the former Otumoetai College student touching home first in the 200m butterfly that caught the nation's attention _ it was also the manner he did it in.
For a start, Australia's Travis Nederpelt had given our boy a beating by 2.51s in the morning heat to underline his favourite tag.
But Burmester, who went into the final ranked third in the Commonwealth and 13th in the world, was not going to be beaten again.
He blitzed the opposition over the first 100m and at the half way stage was one second in front. Nederpelt roared back and cut the deficit but Burmester gritted his teeth like never before to reach the finish first and with it set a new Commonwealth Games record of 1:56.64 which was .25 of a second quicker than his previous personal best time.
With his glasses back on, Burnmester held a kiwi as he stood on the winner's rostrum and heard God Defend New Zealand reverberate around the aquatic centre.
This was a very special moment for him but it was what followed that brought an extra large lump to his throat. Draped in a New Zealand flag and with a gold medal hanging round his neck, he watched his teammates perform a poolside haka.
"That was really special, I don't think I will ever forget it."
Considering all the hard work Burmester had to put in over many years to win gold, he deserved to bask in the glory of victory for a while. However, he still had work to do and three weeks after his success in Melbourne he was in China for the World Shortcourse Championships. It was in Shanghai that he proved that Melbourne was not a one-off as he gained a silver against the best in the world.
"2006 has been the highlight year of my life _ it has been really incredible.
"When I look back and see what I have achieved it makes the training all seem worthwhile."
Burmester's first home in Tauranga was in Pyes Pa. His parents Bronwen and Greg, both keen swimmers who represented New Zealand at underwater hockey and then watched their three sons do the same, ensured Moss was confident in the water at an early age.
His talent was nurtured at Otumoetai Swimming Club and then further developed at Greerton under Clive Power's guidance.
Burmester started a punishing schedule of about ten, two-hour long swimming sessions a week that he has maintained for the best part of ten years and involves getting up not long after some of us have crawled into bed.
While studying at Otumoetai College he would be allowed to skip form because he was making his way from training and also enjoyed another privilege.
'I'd fall asleep in geography and physics but my teachers didn't mind because they knew I was training hard. It was nothing against the teachers, I couldn't stay awake. I still passed."
Burmester claimed his first open national title in 2001 and went to the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002 where he finished fourth in the 200m butterfly.
At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens his goal was to reach the final but he missed out, reaching the semis instead.
However, having shifted to Auckland to work with esteemed coach Jan Cameron, he went to Melbourne optimistic of a medal and with some ``unfinished business'' having finished fourth four years before.
With a gold medal now safely locked away, thoughts of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing are inevitable but he has the 2007 World Championships in Melbourne to concentrate on first.
``My ultimate dream is to win gold at the Olympics and bring the medal back here to Tauranga,'' Burmester said. Now there's something to look forward to.