A renowned actor, a top rugby player and a heavy metal band are among a group of Northlanders who are finalists in the Matariki Awards.

Now in its third year, Māori Television's Matariki Awards celebrates a wide range of Māori achievement.

This year seven finalists have links to Northland.

Portia Woodman, finalist in the Te Waitā Award for Sport


Hailing from Kaikohe, top rugby player Portia Woodman has a list of achievements under her belt - including 2017 World Rugby Women's Player of the Year.

She was part of the Black Ferns team that won the Women's Rugby World Cup in 2017 and as a Black Ferns Sevens player Woodman recently brought home a Commonwealth Games gold medal.

Jason Wynyard - finalist in the Te Waitā Award for Sport

Champion woodchopper Jason Wynyard started competing at 6 in the Opononi Axemen's Carnival.

He became a professional wood chopper in 1996, holds 27 New Zealand records and a number of world records.

Rachel House - Te Waipuna-a-Rangi Award for Arts and Entertainment

Rachel House was raised in Whangārei and has worked as an actor in film, television and theatre ever since graduating from Toi Whakaari in 1992.

She was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the Performing Arts in the 2017 Queen's Birthday Honours.

Alien Weaponry - Te Whetū Maiangi Award for Young Achievers

Waipū band Alien Weaponry brought Māori metal to life through their te reo Māori anthems.

Last year the boys picked up the esteemed APRA Maioha award, and were confirmed to play at Wacken, the world's biggest and most prestigious heavy metal festival in Germany.

Shay Wright - Te Whetū Maiangi Award for Young Achievers

Social entrepreneur Shay Wright grew up in the Far North and attended Kaitāia College, where he was head boy in 2007.

Wright co-founded Te Whare Hukahuka in 2015, developing a range of programmes to empower existing Māori leaders as well as training the next generation of Māori leaders.

In 2016 he was named in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list in the social entrepreneur category.

Tai Tokerau Honey Ltd -Te Tupu-ā-Nuku Award for Business & Innovation

Tai Tokerau Honey Ltd is a 100 per cent Māori-owned and operated beekeeping company in Kaitāia, specialising in production of the famous Mānuka Honey.

The company has just under 5000 hives in the Far North and is in charge of the product from hive to jar.

Dr Melinda Webber - Te Ururangi Award for Education

Ngāpuhi's Dr Melinda Webber is a former Fulbright/Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Scholar who has published widely on the nature of Māori identity.

In 2016, she was awarded a prestigious Marsden Fast-Start grant to do a research project examining the distinctive identity traits of Ngāpuhi.