Do we really care that Monique and Henry Heke did not get through to the final of My Kitchen Rules last night?

No, I reckon they are still winners.

They may be hurting but they need not, they made us proud.

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They showed personality, individuality, mana (especially Henry), their Ngati Kahungunu heritage and their Hawke's Bayness (if there is such a word).

No disrespect to the bland Auckland couple who beat them but the Hekes are winners.

They may have taken the wrong option of playing it safe but they certainly don't need to hang their heads in shame. They put Hawke's Bay on the map and they stayed true to their roots. They were proud to be Maori and they were proud to cook the food they had grown up with.

I was delighted when I realised that Henry Heke was representing the Bay in a nationally televised competition. I know Henry and have had a number of meetings with him. He is one of those people who you cannot help but like.

He is so enthusiastic about life and he certainly brought that to the show. Monique was a delight and their relationship certainly resonated with New Zealand. There is no doubt they deserved the accolade of the most-liked couple.

But, while we were willing them to go all the way and win, does it really matter that they did not? They put Hawke's Bay on the map and that should be enough. If their unbridled enthusiasm for the Bay, their earthy cooking style and the sheer force of their personality was enough to bring a few more people to the our region for a visit, then they have done enough.

Kia ora Monique and Henry.