Awards come home

Celebration for Muriwhenua

Two recipients of TVNZ Marae Investigates Whakaihuwaka - Maori of the Year Awards 2012 were welcomed home yesterday with a congratulatory lunch at Kaitaia Hospital.

Master waka builder and navigator Hekenukumai (Hec) Busby (Aurere) received a lifetime achievement award for his dedication to matauranga Maori, while Kaitaia GP Dr Lance O'Sullivan won the award in the health category and the supreme title, Maori of the Year.

Kerikeri High School's Team Te Reo problem solvers completed an impressive haul for the Far North, winning the rangatahi category.

Dr O'Sullivan paid tribute to Mr Busby yesterday, saying he set a fine example for young men in pursuing his passion, his aroha for serving his people, not only in terms of ocean voyaging but te reo, tikanga, "all the things that are true to us".

For his part, he was privileged and honoured to have won the supreme award.

"So many people go unrecognised for what they do," he said, "and I was proud to accept this award on behalf of them, and the whanau and community, the people who helped me get here.

"We must celebrate our people and our achievements; too often we do not," he added.

"I am proud to bring this taonga to Muriwhenua, but it is a greater honour to say I am one of you."

Those who spoke included Waireti Walters, who recalled her time in the public health system at the time of the Cartwright report into cervical cancer research, in 1988.

"We were all saying 'Maori for Maori.' Today we are celebrating Maori for Maori," she said.

"I am thrilled by this award for all of us. We can only get stronger."

- Northland Age

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