Organisations from across New Zealand were honoured for their outstanding contribution to the community and environment at a ceremony at Government House in Auckland tonight.

The event, hosted by Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae, saw special recognition awards presented by the Tindall Foundation to five "exceptional organisations and influencers".

The New Zealand Housing Foundation (NZHF) was given the award for outstanding contribution to the local community, acknowledging its work developing affordable houses for low income families.

Stephen Tindall, who founded his family's philanthropic foundation with wife Margaret 20 years ago, said the NZHF had given many people the chance to own their own home and improve their quality of life.

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He congratulated chief executive Brian Donnelly and his team for "outstanding leadership in this sector".

"This award acknowledges their outstanding contribution to our shared goal of supporting people into affordable home ownership and stable, healthy and connected communities."

Other award winners included Project Lyttelton, Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust, the SPACE NZ Trust, and Bill Holland.

Project Lyttelton was recognised for its ongoing commitment to the Canterbury town of Lyttelton, where it has developed projects that provide locals with previously unavailable services. It was also congratulated for its response to the community following the Canterbury earthquakes.

Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust was acknowledged for its "extraordinary" commitment and passion for environmental education and protection of marine and freshwater habitats.

SPACE NZ Trust, which created and developed a parenting programme for first-time parents and their babies, won the award for its dedication and commitment to Kiwi families.

Bill Holland, a founder of the Acorn Foundation and current chair of Community Foundations of NZ, was recognised for his personal commitment and passion for driving the community foundation movement in the Bay of Plenty region and across New Zealand.

Mrs Tindall paid tribute to the award winners, who all received a screen print by New Zealand artist Matt Payne.

"Every day we are lucky to see the unwavering generosity and dedication of so many Kiwis. We feel honoured to support their work. We may provide some of the resources that assist them, but it is those people on the ground, making things happen in our communities, who are the heroes in our eyes."