Te Rangikaheke (Yvonne) Bidois hesitates when asked if she is proud of her achievements - it's not something she's ever really thought about.
The Rotorua woman has been awarded the Queen's Service Medal for services to Maori. As lead negotiator for Ngati Rangiwewehi she has headed up Treaty negotiations with the Crown since 2008. Her leadership helped achieve the best outcome from the iwi's claim, with an agreement in principle signed last year and final settlement deeds due for signature this year.
Mrs Bidois said having her hard work recognised was a nice feeling. "It's not until you look back you realise we have achieved a lot, when you are working through the process it doesn't feel like it," she said. "This is a really nice bouquet, it just hasn't sunk in yet, it's a little bit surreal."
Mrs Bidois, who has an MA in Maori and management, worked as a community projects officer for the Rotorua District Council for five years, managing contracts with a range of community organisations.
When Ngati Rangiwewehi got the chance to negotiate with the Crown in 2008 Mrs Bidois, who had been the iwi authority chairwoman for three years, put her hand up to lead the negotiations. Why?
"Because you are brought up the way you are brought up, you have iwi responsibilities, you feel like you have the skills and abilities, you know your people and you have a few clues."
Although it was an individual award, she said the claims team, her family and kaumatua should share the credit.
Husband Anthony, their five adult children and nine mokopuna were among those justifiably proud of the honour.
Mrs Bidois is also well known in netball, representing Rotorua before coaching Rotorua, Waiariki and Bay of Plenty age group sides. She is also trustee of the Mangorewa Kaharoa Te Taumata Trust..
Michael Cullen from Ohope acknowledged, A4
Taupo's top honours, A5