Nelson blade runner Liam Malone has been given a key to Nelson at a public ceremony on the steps of Nelson Cathedral this afternoon.
The 22-year-old was welcomed back to his gown town following his two gold medals and one silver medal haul at the Rio Paralympics last month.
Liam praised his home town’s importance in his campaign and for their financial contribution in his success.
“You guys are the ones who backed me from day one and no other city gave me more money than you guys did.
“These medals are as much yours as they are mine.
“You’ve given me the confidence to be myself and achieve my goals.”
The sprinter, originally from Stoke, captured the world’s attention with his record breaking sprints and charismatic, down to earth post-race interviews.
Nelson mayor Rachel Reese says in presenting Liam with the honour that he had captured not only the attention of the community but their hearts as well.
“I believe (Liam is the most globally recognised New Zealander of our time.
“You have made our city and our country proud and you have done it with humility and humour.
“When you won those medals there were workplaces and living rooms that went up (in celebration).
“We are very proud you are a Nelsonian.”
Nelson MP Nick Smith described Liam as arguably the greatest sportsman produced in Nelson.
“In 12 seconds, Liam achieved more than what most governments achieve in 12 years in breaking down barriers of what people can do with disabilities.”
Liam signed autographs and took selfies with more than 1000 people who turned up for the event.