Te Puke's Dean Terekaunuku Flavell has been honoured by Tauranga Historic Society.
Along with colleague Fiona Kean, Dean was last week presented with a Tauranga Heritage Award.
Dean and Fiona have dedicated much of their professional lives to Tauranga's most precious and irreplaceable objects as custodians of the Tauranga Heritage Collection.
Both Dean and Fiona have not only been entrusted with important historical objects and their conservation, but have gone much further by sharing the stories of those objects with the community.
Much of this work is behind the scenes, but the public were able to view some of what they do through their popular From Tauranga to the Trenches mobile exhibitions.
With the innovative use of customised steel shipping containers, they created 10 exhibitions for the 100th commemorations of World War I, bringing alive the experience of Tauranga soldiers and their families during this time.
Dean and Fiona collaborate widely with others and freely share their time and resources.
Both are dedicated to sharing their knowledge, such as during the taonga and conservation workshops that Dean delivers and during Fiona's 11 years as editor of the Bay of Plenty Historical Review.
Dean is a recognised artist and Tohunga Whakairo, or master carver, and he is also chairman of several groups working for the protection of our environment and history.
He has taken charge of the restoration and upkeep of Te Awanui, Tauranga's ceremonial waka that was carved from a 300-year-old kauri tree almost 50 years ago.
''Te Awanui is a symbol of a community, of how two people, Māori and Pākehā came together,'' he says.
During Matariki 2020, Dean put together an exhibition displayed at Te Puke Library, Te Rākaunui – Te Rākauroa, that explored the traditional tools and philosophies of tangata whenua via the oral passing-down of traditional tool-making and purpose related to traditional forms of horticulture practised within the local area.
The exhibition was made up of tools from Dean's personal collection.
''One of the things as a carver I like to do is recreate old tools and teach the young ones how they were used,'' he says.
As chairman of the Ngā Poutiri Ao ō Mauao joint management body, he has said: ''This is a great example of how iwi and council can collaborate by engaging early, face-to-face and with the right information''.
As chairman of Te Maru o Kaituna River Authority, he has explained their vision of seeing the Kaituna River in a healthy state, where it is protected for current and future generations.
He is also chair of the Tapuika Development Trust and Makahea Marae.
Fiona has contributed history articles to the Tauranga Historical Blog for the last seven years. She also worked on a special edition of the Historical Review for the 2014 Battle of Pukehinahina commemoration, the book From Tauranga to the Trenches for the World War 100 commemorations, worked closely with the late Alf Rendell on the book Rendell's Tauranga – Historic Tauranga From Above, and contributed to another publication, Western Bay Women – A Celebration of 125 Years of Woman's Suffrage.
There have been 21 recipients of the Tauranga Heritage Award since it began, and they read like a who's who of hardworking people, organisations and community groups passionately devoted to heritage in the Tauranga area.