The late Sir Ron Scott was honoured by All Black coach Steve Hansen with a moving tribute at the Hutt Valley Sports Awards.
Scott died in an Upper Hutt rest-home last year, aged 88.
Hansen said he first became aware of Scott during the highly successful 1974 Commonwealth Games and said it was a privilege to pay tribute to him.
"As a young boy growing up in Christchurch at the time, I well remember the impact the games had on our country. Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Phillip attending alongside Sir Ron is an image and memory we all look back on fondly."
He was chairman of the 1974 Commonwealth Games organising committee, the only Games to have made a profit, Hansen said.
He got to know Scott during the 1970s and he told daughter Lise Kljakovic that her father had made a huge contribution to the country.
"Sir Ron Scott was a gift to our nation, a visionary. He was passionate, astute and a highly respected International ambassador on behalf of New Zealand."
He was part of the foundation group that established the then Hillary Commission now known as Sport New Zealand and also an integral part of setting up the Arts Foundation of New Zealand.
Hansen noted that Scott helped get the Wellington Stadium built and chaired the establishment trust behind New Zealand's first America's Cup challenge in 1983.
Scott also found time to referee, play and coach rugby and was çhef de mission of the 1984 Olympic team to Los Angeles.
"During his long, illustrious and brilliant life he was a broadcaster, an advertiser, a sportsman, coach and a leader of unparalleled success in our sporting and arts communities," Hansen said.
Despite living in Upper Hutt he was a one eyed Cantabrian and fierce supporter of the Crusaders.
Kljakovic told Hansen the family had come up from Christchurch for the event and were delighted by the tribute.
"He (Sir Ron) would have been humbled by your words."
Her father loved the Crusaders and she said when they played the Hurricanes, his comments left her wondering if they had watched the same game.
She described her father as "true gentleman" who treated everyone the same, whether they were the janitor or the Queen.