It could have been a scene from a movie - the Lord of New Zealand cinema became a knight with the touch of a sword from the Queen's representative.
Sir Peter Jackson was honoured at an investiture at Wellington's Premier House yesterday, with 13 other New Zealanders involved in arts, recreation, health, community, science and the public sector.
Actor Stuart Devenie, who has appeared in three of Sir Peter's films, The Frighteners, Braindead and Jack Brown Genius, was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
Sir Peter said: "I feel incredibly humbled and the truth is making movies is not a solo effort - it involves hundreds of people, thousands of people, so I feel as though I'm accepting it on behalf of a huge industry."
Receiving his knighthood - for continued excellence and significant contribution to the New Zealand and international film industries - involved Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand tapping Sir Peter on both shoulders with a sword. "I checked it to make sure it was blunt because I didn't want the [governor-general] to ... slip," he said.
Sir Peter's movie The Return of the King jointly holds the record for the most Oscars won by a single film. It won 11 in 2004.
His community work was also acknowledged, including support of the 48-Hour Film Festival, Wellington Fringe Festival, Epilepsy Research and GiveLife New Zealand Organ Donation Awareness Charity.
Yesterday's honour was different to winning an Oscar but "means a lot more in some respects" because of the tradition and history, he said.
He was glad to see Devenie at the same ceremony, adding that it was wonderful New Zealand was honouring the arts.
Sir Anand said those who were honoured were an example for the country, and had "turned words into deeds". Quoting Sir Peter Blake, he told the room: "The hardest part of any big project is to begin."
There are six investiture ceremonies this week, during which 81 New Zealanders are being honoured.
- The Dominion Post