Isobel Ransfield has been recognised for her dedication to sharing her Māori heritage, being awarded a Queen's Service Medal in this year's New Year Honours List for services to Māori.
As a respected kuia, Isobel has contributed to the cultural health of Ōtaki and Manakau communities for many years.
Originally from Ngāti Manawa in Murupara, Bay of Plenty, Isobel moved down to Wellington for work shortly after graduating from Hukarere Girls' College.
Meeting her husband, who was from Manakau, Isobel has since called Ngāti Wehiwehi home, being kuia there for over 30 years.
"I feel very honoured to be recognised for my work with Ngāti Wehiwehi, and our local Māori community.
"I have been a kuia for Ngāti Wehiwehi for over 30 years.
"The tikanga I have passed on to our younger generations was passed on to me by kuia that included Aunty Maude Miratana and Nanny Bell Gardiner, who have now passed.
I recognise their life experiences and the knowledge they passed on as sharing in this honour."
An unsung hero, Isobel has dedicated much of her life to Ngāti Wehiwehi, her six children and many mokopuna.
"In the 1970s and 1980s the marae was the focal point of our community and whānau.
"There was an expectation to be present and involved with the marae."
This involved working from dawn until dusk during multi-day hui or tangi preparing food, making sure the wharenui was in order following traditional protocol, and included making the karanga to welcome people on to the marae.
An important part of her contribution has not only been helping in preparation behind the scenes of events, but also in the sharing of her knowledge, of tikanga, tribal history and te reo.
She has been a leader in the traditions of karanga and whāriki for the wharenui while freely giving her time to share knowledge, teach and guide younger generations.
"Our lives are much busier these days and passing on our tikanga to those wanting to learn is very rewarding."
Believing you are never too old to stop learning, until recently Isobel was enrolled in the Kaumātua Course at Te Wananga o Raukawa.
The main aim of the course is to support kaumātua to fulfil their role on the marae, thereby enriching their whānau, marae, hapū and iwi.
The assignments are designed especially for them, with a series of kaupapa providing a focus for study over the year, such as kai (food), kōrero i te kainga me te marae (language in the home and marae), toi (art) and waiata (songs).
Although Isobel, now 92, is not as mobile as she used to be and unable to complete the course, she is still called upon to represent the iwi at huia and tangi throughout the tribal rohe.