Rāwiri Paratene was formally recognised for his services to Māori, film and theatre in an investiture ceremony at Auckland’s Government House over the weekend.
The acclaimed actor was named in the Queen's Birthday honours in 2021.
He was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2013, and is now a Companion of the same.
Paratene is also a writer and director, and was born in Northland's Hokianga.
He grew up in Ōtara, South Auckland, and went on to start the Wellington branch of Ngā Tamatoa movement, which campaigned for the Māori language to be taught in schools.
His career spans five decades, and he is known internationally for his role in Whale Rider and performing Shakespeare at London's Globe theatre.
He is a Trustee of the South Pacific Whale Research Consortium and of Te Paepae Ataata, which funds the development of Māori cinema.
In 2018, the actor suffered the first of multiple strokes which left him with aphasia, a common stroke-related ailment that delays the neural pathways between brain and speech.
Former All Black captain Sir Wayne "Buck" Shelford was also recognised over the weekend for his services to rugby and the community.