Key Points:

A father's concern pushed Michael Seresin towards his first passion, film-making, and away from New Zealand. His second passion, winemaking, drew him back to Marlborough.

Now he has been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Mr Seresin's father felt he was going off the rails at school and introduced him to the New Zealand film scene through Pacific Pictures' John O'Shea, the "godfather of the local film industry".

He was soon seduced by foreign films, and left New Zealand for the "mystery and shadows" of cities in Europe. He felt at home in Rome, warming to the city's sophistication, customs, food and wine.

Over the next two decades his eye developed behind the camera, in lighting and as a cinematographer, and he has since lent his spark to films from Angela's Ashes to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Living in Tuscany in the early 1980s, he was drawn to the growing of grapes, and the social side of winemaking and drinking, which suited his Old World sensibilities.

"In New Zealand, alcohol was not synonymous with civilisation. It was alcoholism, drunks in bars, and people getting in fights," he said.

Mr Seresin found growing grapes was easy, but selling wine was not, and returned to New Zealand, where Marlborough sauvignon blanc was developing an international reputation.

"I'm not a businessman. So instead of trying to fit into an established niche in Europe, I went for the pioneering approach in Marlborough."

He established the Seresin Estate just outside Blenheim and near the Wairau River, where he produces wine using organic and biodynamic cultivation practices.

Mr Seresin believes environmentally conscious winemaking is an "absolute given" - New Zealand is a green nation physically but not yet in attitude.

He relishes returning to Marlborough, but is truly a global citizen. "I move around like a gypsy.

"The notion of stopping work is anathema to me. I'll keep working till I drop."