Two Hawke's Bay women have been named finalists for the 2017 Matariki Awards that will celebrate and honour extraordinary Maori talent and achievement across a range of fields and industries.

St Joseph's Maori Girls College principal Dame Georgina Kingi and Mavis Mullins of the Poutama Trust are finalists for the Te Ururangi award for education and the Te Tupu-a-Nuku award for business and innovation respectively.

Up against Hohepa Tuahine and Kristen Ross of Pipi Ma and Grant Straker of Straker Translations, Ms Mullins said it felt "surreal" to be a finalist for the award.

"I hate to say this because it sounds trite but I am very humbled and also mindful that this is not an individual effort.

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"You don't go into this for recognition; you go into it to do stuff. So when it happens it's just a reflection of a whole lot of energy put in by many people."

She said she had initially thought the Poutama Trust had been named as the finalist, and was surprised but pleased to discover she had been singled out for the award.

Dame Georgina, appointed Hawke's Bay's newest dame in the latest New Year Honours, said she felt "honoured" to be recognised for her efforts to ensure Maori girls receive quality education.

She said it had come as a "bit of a surprise" but felt it was great for Hawke's Bay, particularly the region's education.

Dame Georgina is a finalist alongside University of Otago Associate Dean (Maori) Joanne Baxter and Massey University's Whiti o Rehua School of Art Professor Robert (Bob) Jahnke.

Ms Mullins yesterday admitted that this had been a "big year" for her, alluding to the fact that she was yesterday appointed as the first female Hawke's Bay Rugby Union director.

Maori Television chief executive Paora Maxwell said he was "thrilled" with the calibre of finalists this year.

"The awards are an opportunity to acknowledge and honour those individuals and organisations whose passion, innovation and dedication is making a difference to our communities and to our country," he said.

Hosted by Stacey Morrison and Pio Terei, the awards will be held at the Auckland War Memorial Museum on July 21.