Nelson MP Nick Smith got a surprise last night when he made his 19th annual address to the Rotary Club of Nelson West - he was awarded Rotary's highest honour, a Paul Harris Fellowship.
Not a Rotarian, he said he was overwhelmed to receive the award.
"I've attended more than a dozen presentations to outstanding Nelson people who have been previously recognised with the Paul Harris Fellowship. It was never on my radar that they would see fit to recognise someone that is not really able to do the practical hard community service that Rotarians do."
Politics had its bruising moments and it was nice to know that there were organisations that could see he was trying to make a positive difference in his community, Dr Smith said.
Rotary district governor John Rickard said Dr Smith had been a tireless community champion who had a record of sticking up for locals who were "up against it".