Whanganui artist Rick Rudd said he had never considered the possibility that he might join the Queen's Birthday Honours list.
The world-renowned Whanganui potter has been named a recipient of a 2020 New Zealand Order of Merit for services to ceramic art.
"I've always been pleased to learn about Whanganui people being honoured and I am still getting used to the idea that I've joined them," he said.
Rudd's ceramic art has earned him numerous awards and accolades in the 45 years he has been practising in New Zealand but the establishment of the Quartz Museum Of Studio Ceramics in Whanganui is a phenomenal testament to his devotion to the art form.
Rudd sold his house in Castlecliff to be able to buy the former Payne Sewell building in Bates St and opened the museum in 2015.
It now houses his entire ceramics collection, which occupies all four floors of the building.
"It was something I felt I needed to do," he said.
"There were so many significant works around the country packed away in storerooms and only brought out for exhibitions every couple of years or so."
The museum is a genuine labour of love for Rudd, who makes no profit from it.
He established the Rick Rudd Foundation, a charitable trust that owns the museum building.
He runs the free museum with little assistance or outside funding and donated the building and his approximately 700-piece collection of ceramics to the foundation.
The selection includes the New Zealand History Collection of more than 120 works illustrating the development of New Zealand studio ceramics from the early 20th century to the present.
In 2018, the foundation presented the first Emerging Practitioner in Clay Award to Wellington artist Oliver Morse, who has now moved to Whanganui. The next award will be presented in 2021.
Rudd emigrated to New Zealand from England as an emerging young artist and quickly established his reputation, winning the Fletcher Brownbuilt Pottery Award in 1978.
He has seen the popularity of ceramic art wax and wane since then and said the establishment of the museum and the award is his way of encouraging young artists to keep producing great work.
"In the 70s you could make almost anything from clay and it was guaranteed to sell.
"The stock market crash of 1987 saw a big dive in sales and it has taken a very long time to come back from that."
Rudd said pottery has been experiencing a resurgence in recent years and he hopes that will continue despite the economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis.
"I spent the lockdown time tidying up the museum - painting walls, cleaning, washing and sorting.
"It was nice actually because I had been thinking it would be good to have time to do those things."
Since reopening he has welcomed a number of locals to the museum as well as visitors from Hawke's Bay and Balclutha.
"I have also added a new item to the collection.
"It is a piece by Whanganui potter Mavis Jack, brought in by someone who knew I was on the lookout for her work, so it has been a good week."
Rudd served as president of the Auckland Studio Potters Society from 1978 to 1980, president of the New Zealand Society of Potters from 1988 to 1991 and as a member of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Trust Board from 1991 to 1997.