It's a card rather than a key to the city for former Napier Mayor Alan Dick, who has been awarded Freedom of the City, Napier's highest civic award.

Dick was honoured at the Napier City Civic awards on Thursday night, and will be allowed free access to Napier City Council owned facilities for the rest of his life, many of which he helped to construct.

Former Napier Mayor, Alan Dick, says he was slightly embarrassed to receive the award.

"I'm very gratified, but I'm a little embarrassed at the same time," Dick said.


"You can't do anything on your own, in business and in local government."

He said he had worked in local government for so long, because he believed it was a place you could make things happen.

"You can generate improvements for your community, both in terms of its facilities and its social and economic position."

He said his proudest achievement as a local body politician was they work local authorities undertook in the 1990s improving Napier's above-ground infrastructure.

This included the construction of the National Aquarium "which is the only facility in Hawke's Bay which has the status of being a facility of national significance, or importance," said Dick.

Other major projects were the reconstruction of Napier's Municipal Theatre, making Emmerson St pedestrian-friendly, the reconstruction of the War Memorial Centre and the aquatic facilities at Onekawa.

Rather than the American tradition of a key to the city, Dick will be given a card saying he is allowed free access.

Dick was Mayor of Napier for 12 years. He is currently serving as a councillor for Hawke's Bay Regional Council.

The Freedom of the City Award was last granted in 2009, when it was bestowed to the HMNZS Rotoiti. The last person to have received the award was Sir Russell Pettigrew in 2004.