It's a big week for former Prime Minister Helen Clark, who arrives back in New Zealand today to receive two honours and to celebrate her 60th birthday.

Tomorrow morning she will receive New Zealand's highest honour, the Order of New Zealand, at a special ceremony at Government House in Auckland, an award held by only 20 living New Zealanders.

About 180 private guests will attend the ceremony.

Tomorrow evening the University of Auckland will confer on her an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in recognition of her contribution to New Zealand. Around 240 guests will attend.

On Sunday, before leaving for New York, friends are throwing her a 60th birthday party in Auckland - five days before her actual birthday on February 26.

Helen Clark, who was Prime Minister for nine years before heading the United National Development Programme, will also return to Parliament for the first time since leaving in April last year to appear before a select committee.

She will brief the foreign affairs, defence and trade select committee on the work of the UNDP.

Helen Clark has been in the region at a conference in Vanuatu and visiting Australia and Papua New Guinea.

She will meet Prime Minister John Key in Auckland on Thursday.