The group which installed 18 pou at the Hastings Civic Square earlier this year has been awarded the top gong at the Landmarks Awards held last night.
The awards began in 2004 as a way to acknowledge projects within Hastings that contribute to promotion of the district's image and identity and were this year combined with the Tremains Street As Awards which recognise home and building owners making improvements to the front of their properties to improve street appeal.
The awards were held for the first time in two years.
The Jeremy Dwyer Supreme Award went to Nga Pou o Heretaunga, with the award accepted by spokesperson Tama Huata.
The project involved 18 pou, or carved figures, which represented as many ancestors from marae around Hastings.
Mr Huata took the stage with the carvers of the pou who were each presented with certificates.
"The pou serve as a cultural connection for everyone, a cultural connection to our marae, a cultural connection to the community, a cultural connection to the opera house," he said.
Mr Huata spoke of the decision to install the pou in the central city.
"The pou and the powhiri is the highest accolade that we, the marae, can give to our visitors."
Mr Huata told Hawke's Bay Today the award was a "great acknowledgement".
"It's just fantastic, to acknowledge our carvers and our marae.
"Just to get all of our marae together is fantastic."
President of the Hastings District Landmark Trust Joyce Barry said the evening had been a great success.
"It's a celebration of all that the Hastings District is capable of. It brings out potential and inspiration for others."
She said there was no shortage of nominations this year despite the break last year.
"We didn't have the awards last year, there was a big downturn so we left it a year but this time we had more people for the awards.
"We also regenerated the garden awards as the Street As Awards which has been great."
The awards returned to the Hastings Opera House where about 450 people attended.