Sir Tim Shadbolt: Invercargill Mayor knighted in New Year Honours

Disbelief and joyful is how Invercargill's Mayor has described becoming a 'Sir'.

Tim Shadbolt is one of many Kiwis being honoured in the 2018 New Year Honours.

Sir Tim has been awarded a Knights Companion of the NZ Order of Merit
for his services to local government and the community. 

"Well it's sort of disbelief on the one hand, and on the other hand a sort of joyful experience and feeling, you know - that after my controversial life I'm recognised in this manner," he told Newshub. 

Sir Tim has led a colourful life. Born and raised in Auckland, he soon became an activist and was arrested 33 times in total during political protests. 

He was the Mayor of Waitemata City for two terms, from 1983-89, before heading south.

He first served as Invercargill's Mayor from 1993-1995 but lost the top job after fleeting off to France to protest nuclear testing the Pacific. However, in 1998 he was back and has been ever since, and is now New Zealand's longest-serving Mayor. 

He's appeared on Dancing With The Stars NZ, wrote a number of books, hosted television shows and featured in movies. It seems there isn't much the 71-year-old father can't do. 

Yet he admits he won't be slowing down and retiring anytime soon. 

"Well I was considering it after the last election. But then I heard that if you die in office, the council pays for your funeral - so forward planning, I like to call it.

"I love the job. I feel very privileged to be in the position of Mayor of this proud city.

"While I've got health and energy, I'll certainly look forward to doing another term."

And he insists being a 'Sir' won't change him - although he might try to be more regal. 

"Well I'll try, but I have a feeling I might fail, a bit like the Dancing with the Stars. I might fail on that count."