It was a homecoming of some magnitude when Bryan Gould was awarded the Tauranga Boys' College Old Boy of the Year award at the school.
Mr Gould, who received the award on Friday, follows the previous recipients of the award in rower Mahe Drysdale, former Chief of the NZ Defence Force Sir Bruce Fergusson, and actor/director Ian Mune.
Mr Gould attended Tauranga College from 1951 to 1953, before the split into boys' and girls' divisions in 1958. He became the school's first Rhodes Scholar in 1962, which took him to Oxford and a degree in law.
He joined the British Diplomatic Service in 1964 and after a short spell teaching, he began a long and successful career in politics, which culminated in his appointment to the Labour Party's Shadow Cabinet under the leadership of Neil Kinnock.
Mr Gould contested the Labour Party leadership in 1992, before he returned home to New Zealand to begin a 10-year tenure as Vice-Chancellor of Waikato University. He was made a companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his efforts to education.
Returning to the Tauranga Boys' College campus, where he began his secondary education, was a huge thrill for Mr Gould, especially as he was the focus of a haka by the full school assembly of 1750 boys.
"It means a lot more to me than I thought it would do," he said.
"But when I went to the assembly, I began recalling 61 years ago when I first turned up there, just before my 12th birthday. I am sure I was the smallest boy at the school. In the audience was my own grandson so that was special."
Mr Gould says his upbringing in New Zealand helped him thrive in British politics and society in general.
"I think if you are a New Zealander you have a different view of society, than if you were brought up in Britain. The first thing is you do not recognise class differences.
"Being a Kiwi, I always felt like it was being in a big ocean, and while the Brits were corralled into little bays and couldn't get out, we Kiwis could swim over the whole damn thing," he said.
Mr Gould has been away from Tauranga for many years but feels a special bond with the city. He fondly remembers delivering the Bay of Plenty Times after school around the central avenues.
Jeremy Redmore, the former lead singer of New Zealand's award winning band Midnight Youth, was guest speaker at the Old Boys' dinner. He attended Tauranga Boys' from 1996 to 2000 and is beginning a solo career.