Sir John Key receives Knighthood at Auckland ceremony

Former Prime Minister John Key, the 'state house boy from Bryndwr' has been handed another honour, one that means more to him than the many others.

Sir John was knighted on Wednesday morning, a moment he said has a special meaning because it recognised the sacrifices his family made.

"I see it as recognition for Bronagh and the kids and the sacrifices they made but also for so many people that helped me," he told Newshub.

At the Investiture ceremony at Government House on Wednesday morning, John Key was appointed as a Knight of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the state.

He won the 2008 election two years after becoming National's leader, but victory celebrations were soon overshadowed by the Global Financial Crisis. He described his response to it as his greatest success.

"Only because it touches the lives of every New Zealander. People in my experience are hardworking proud people who want to have a job and advance their own family and their own lives."

Sir John said the only regret he had from his ten years in office was not eliminating child poverty.

"You can't click your fingers and achieve a solution to every problem. Ultimately no one wants to see children that are hungry or families are without homes or those challenging social issues that we see."

Sir John said the next challenge for the National party is to overcome the charisma of new Labour leader Jacinda Ardern.

"She's obviously putting a positive tone on her leadership. I like to think I was a positive leader. For the Labour Party I'm sure they made absolutely the right call."

He said he too made the right call in stepping down.

"I miss the VIP cars, they're fantastic, you can park anywhere, they're very convenient but I don't look back and think, 'Gosh, I made a mistake'."