The "first knight of lifesaving" was among nearly 50 New Zealanders honoured in investiture ceremonies at Government House in Wellington yesterday.
Sir Bob Harvey was dubbed a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his 58 years with Surf Lifesaving New Zealand.
"I'm the first knight of lifesaving in 103 years, and I carry that very proudly," he said.
Sir Bob served six terms as Mayor of Waitakere City.
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Others honoured included the driving force behind Christchurch's "Farmy Army", John Hartnell, who received the insignia of a Member of the order, and former Act leader Rodney Hide, a Companion of the Queen's Service Order.