The cultural diversity of Hawke's Bay was celebrated last night, with an event promoting the importance of unity and culture.

The fifth Asians in the Bay 2016 awards, held at the Havelock North function centre, were attended by more than 200 people, including the mayors of Napier and Hastings and prominent members of the community.

The annual event is organised by the Multicultural Association of Hawke's Bay to recognise the expertise and entrepreneurship of Hawke's Bay's multicultural community.

Event organiser and multicultural association of Hawke's Bay president Rizwaana Latiff said the awards were the biggest event on the association's calendar.

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"It's about seeing the community come together," she said. "All the communities are represented."

At the weekend, members from various cultural communities decorated areas of the centre and, while it was great to see the distinct cultures, Ms Latiff said it was special seeing "the fusion of them all together".

"I grew up in apartheid South Africa, which was multicultural but separate, so it's heartwarming to see all the different cultures mix together and support each other.

"I feel very lucky to be part of this process."

The six awards were judged by a panel representing all sectors of the community - EIT deputy chief executive Mark Oldershaw, Te Mata Figs owner and director Murray Douglas, Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce chief executive Wayne Walford, Tara Huckle of Piers Hunt Legal Advocate, Napier city councillor Maxine Boag and Hastings district councillor Kevin Watkins.

They selected James Yuming Guan as the winner of the Best Asian Practising Professional category, sponsored by Luscombe Legal.

The China liaison officer for China Pacific was celebrated for his work to establish and facilitate relationships between Hawke's Bay and China, as well as his commitment to the community.

For the Best Asian Community category, sponsored by Tong Too Family Trust, the Association of Sri Lankans in Hawke's Bay Inc were singled out for their community spirit, and support.

As well as recognising members of the community, last night's guests enjoyed Asian cuisine, and were entertained with performances by the Bay Brothers, Cui Yana from the Chinese Community, and Deepthi Krishna of the Indian Cultural Centre.

The winners:

* Best Asian Business category - sponsored by EIT and Indigo: J. Young Motors Ltd, Bay View

* Best Asian Community category - sponsored by Tong Too Family Trust: Association of Sri Lankans in Hawke's Bay Inc.

* Best Asian Secondary School category - sponsored by Hastings District Council: Inderpreet Kaur.

* Best Asian Practising Professional category - sponsored by Luscombe Legal: James Yuming Guan.

* Best Asian Tertiary Student category - sponsored by Napier City
Council: Agrani Ratnayake.

* Best Asian Restaurant category - sponsored by Napier Pine Ltd: Jabies Doner Kebab & Pizza, Hastings.