Sir John Key is to receive an honorary doctorate in commerce from the University of Canterbury.
University chancellor Dr John Wood described Sir John as "a valued alumnus of [the] university".
"Sir John provided strong support to the University of Canterbury, especially in the years since the earthquakes," he said.
"His leadership has been critical to the rebuild, not just on campus but in the region in general, and we will be eternally grateful to him for that.
"He has also been a supporter of the university in a personal capacity and I sincerely hope that his connection with this institution will continue and strengthen in time to come."
Sir John graduated from University in 1983 with a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in accountancy.
He then spent many years as a foreign exchange dealer both in New Zealand and around the world, where he held several high-ranking positions in Singapore, London and New York.
In 2002 he went in to New Zealand politics as a National MP for Helensville. He took over the party leadership in 2006 and eventually became Prime Minister - a position he held for eight years before stepping down in December.
Since leaving office, he has been appointed to the board of Air New Zealand among other directorships.
He will be awarded the degree at a graduation ceremony in Christchurch at Horncastle Arena on Friday, December 15.