A Northland group with a worldwide reach working to promote traditional Māori games has won this year's Trustpower Far North Community Awards.
KaiMatariki Trust, founded by PE teacher turned Māori games exponent Harko Brown, scooped the supreme award in last night's awards at the Copthorne Hotel in Waitangi.
Eight other groups and two teenagers were also honoured for their part in making the Far North a better place.
Trustpower spokeswoman Abbie Siely said KaiMatariki Trust stood out to the judges because it created development opportunities at an international level for Far North people.
"KaiMatariki Trust has gained an international reputation as a leader in the preservation and celebration of indigenous culture through its focus on traditional Māori games and customs.
"Through the promotion of ngā taonga takoro — including stick, ball and string games, kapa haka, weaving, speechmaking, values coaching, physical fitness and kite flying — the trust builds life skills among, and creates opportunities for, its members," Siely said.
The trust has represented Māori at the World Indigenous Games in Brazil and Canada, took a group of Northland youth to a kite festival in Italy in April this year, hosted a group of First Nations Cree from Canada for Waitangi Day celebrations, and taught Māori games in the Netherlands.
The group is in discussions about holding a future World Indigenous Games in Northland.
Siely said even more impressive than the group's long list of invitations to international events was its commitment to fundraising and skill development, making sure its young members were able to travel and realise their dreams.
The trust won $2000 and will represent the Far North at the Trustpower National Community Awards in Tauranga next March.
This year's Youth Community Spirit Award went to Allen Karena, of Panguru School in North Hokianga, for spearheading a community project to save Mitimiti's famous mussel beds from an invasive marine pest.
This year's awards took a different format with no category winners but one supreme winner and five award winners chosen from eight finalists. More than 50 groups were nominated for this year's awards.
Supreme winner: KaiMatariki Trust.
Award winners: Tukau Community Fund, Bay of Island Coastguard, Rarawa Netball Club, The Shade House Volunteers, Shine on Kaitaia.
Finalists: Kaikohe and District Senior Citizens Hall Committee, Keri Woodchoppers/Fred Hollows Eyesight Foundation, Be Free Youth Mentoring through Music.
Youth Community Spirit winner: Allen Karena; finalist: Phoebe Huett.