Sutherland stole the show when he told the audience a few stories from his time in France at the end of World War Il and express his gratitude at receiving the Legion of Honour.
It was important to remember the eight veterans were only a few of those who played a part in France’s liberation.
He enlisted in the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1942, arrived in the United Kingdom in 1943 and served with 297, 299 and 190 squadrons.
He also completed 28 special duty operations and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1944 for bravery while on a resupply mission over Holland.
Munro enlisted in the territorial Force of the Army in 1940 and was mobilised into the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1941.
He is the last surviving pilot of the Dambusters raid, an attack on German dams in 1943.
Munro said he was “quite thrilled” to be awarded the Legion of Honour.
“It’s quite significant as far as I’m concerned.”
The presence of nine of Munro’s family members at the award presentation “signifies their pride in their old man”, he said.
Other war medals awarded to Munro have also been in the spotlight recently.
The 95-year-old had intended to sell the medals and other memorabilia at a London auction to raise money for the upkeep of the Bomber Command Memorial.
However, the medals were withdrawn from sale after the intervention of British philanthropist Lord Ashcroft and will now be displayed at the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT).
The Legion of Honour is the highest French honour, It was created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802.
It was awarded to “very exceptional people for their endeavours”, Jeanblanc-Risler said.
In total about 40 New Zealand veterans who played a part in D-Day in France would be awarded the Legion of Honour, she said.
About 240 people from the Pacific region would also receive the award.