Three years heading the New Zealand Food Safety Authority has earned Greytown man Andrew McKenzie the Queen's Service Order in the New Year's honour for services to the state.
Dr McKenzie, who worked as chief executive of NZFSA from 2007 to 2010, moved from Wellington this year to retire in Greytown, and said he was expecting the honour and found out about it two months ago.
"Usually when you are chief executive of a government department for a significant amount of time, they quite often put your name up, and it's nice to be recognised for what you do.
"We lived in Wellington for about 25 years and we really liked it, but the weather was quite lousy and it was never very warm so we thought here would be a nice place to retire because it's got its own microclimate and it's not too far away from Wellington, so we're really happy here."
Dr McKenzie started life in the food safety industry as a vet at a meatworks before moving on to bigger and better things such as serving as the chairman of the Meat and Hygiene Committee of the Codex Alimentarius Commission and chairing the World Organisation for Animal Health's Animal Production Food Safety Group.
His biggest achievement while working at NZFSA was negotiating trade deals with Europe.
"I sorted out some quite big trade deals with Europe, which had a major influence on the international standard for meat hygiene," Dr McKenzie said. "A lot of countries put up technical barriers in trade and that's what I've spent my career fighting."