Murray McPhail introduced New Zealand to broccoli and bagged salad in the 1970s. The Gisborne founder and Director of LeaderBrand has been recognised for his contribution to the horticulture industry named a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the King's birthday honours.
His son, Gordon told REX host Dominic George they only found out about it the Friday before the long weekend.
"He is a personal sort of person and it's never been about the fame or the fortune, it's always been about a passion more than anything else, that's been his story more than anything," McPhail said.
As far as he knows, LeaderBrand came from humble beginnings, but Gordon did reveal that a lot of his father's inspiration came from his time spent farming overseas.
"He always saw the potential in growing crops and the scale that you could create in multiplication in growing crops.
"A lot of his early inspiration came from his time spent in America. Farming, working on big tractors and big farms over there, that's where he gained his original passion from."
Brought back to Aotearoa due to family circumstances, Murray took over the family farm from a young age and never looked back.
Part of his success, Gordon told George, comes from a focus on what will work best for the location and resources he has available and then his ability to adapt and evolve with trends of the market.
"What is the best thing to grow in the region, in the best soil and what is our right to be there and how can we be competitive?
"We've transitioned as we've seen the conditions evolve, the trends evolve within the industry, society changes and what we are able to produce effectively and competitively change as well.
"I think that has been one of the secrets to success is that evolution through time."
Although he hasn't been involved in any management role within LeaderBrand for the last 12 years, Gordon said his ability to let the next generation have their chance to make a mark on the industry has set the company up for a bright-looking future.
"He's always been a big proponent of giving the younger generation some space…making sure that young generation one, has the support but two makes its own mistakes.
"Again one of those secrets of success is one, surrounding himself with really good people but allowing them to grow and giving them some space to be creative and manage the business how they want to manage it.
"That's been a big part of what he has really developed is people and it shows in terms of these second and third generations working within the business now which is amazing for the culture of course."
Gordon went on to talk more about some of the challenges faced by LeaderBrand through his father's and his own time in the business, regenerative technology and sustainability in farming.