Mossburn's Alistair Klein has been recognised by the NZ Agricultural Aviation Association for his work as a top dresser at an industry conference last month.
At Aviation New Zealand's national conference held in Nelson at the end of July, Mr Klein said he was shocked when he heard he won the Pursuit of Operational Excellence in Agricultural Aviation award.
The born and bred Fiordlander said he always had a passion for aviation, and learnt how to fly as soon as he left school.
He said the recognition was a "very humbling" one.
"I was completely shocked by it to be honest."
For the last three years he has worked as a top dresser for Airspread South in Mossburn.
Mr Klein said agricultural flying had always appealed to him, and the field was the right fit.
His previous work in aviation has taken him across the ditch and back.
Mr Klein previously flew shark patrols around the beaches south of Sydney, Australia as well as flying a jump plane for Skydive Tasmania.
Back home, Mr Klein worked with Stewart Island Flights before moving into agricultural aviation.
In addition to his experience in the skies, Mr Klein said for years he had also helped his father, who was a fencing contractor.
"Now he's actually working with me loading the planes, so it's come full circle a bit," Mr Klein said.
Airspread South administrator Sam McBride said Mr Klein was always the professional in everything he did.
In the company's reference letter for the award, she and husband Richard McBride said Mr Klein showed great aptitude for the agricultural flying role.
"He is fully committed to serving the agricultural industry and this is epitomised from the respect he shows and receives from the farmers, transports, other staff members."
The award was given to three people, two of whom represented the next generation of agricultural aviators.
Aviation New Zealand chief executive John Nicholson said they wanted to recognise younger pilots like Mr Klein who were making significant contributions to the industry and had a bright future ahead of them.