Every group called on stage in an awards ceremony tells you they never expected to win.

But when the winner also forgets to turn up, it's probably true.

Bay of Islands-based sports and cultural group KaiMatariki Trust took out the supreme title in last week's Trustpower Far North Community Awards at the Copthorne Hotel in Waitangi, but when the group's name was called there was silence.

Ten minutes later, after a phone call from a member of the audience and a dash from his home in nearby Puketona, founder Harko Brown arrived with his daughter Yves Brown, 16, to collect the trust's trophy.

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The trust aims to promote traditional Māori sports and games while giving youth opportunities to learn, travel and forge contacts around the world.

Recent trips and exchanges include travelling to an Italian kite festival with a focus on Māori culture, hosting a Canadian First Nations group at Waitangi, and representing Aotearoa at the World Indigenous Games in Brazil and Canada.

Brown accepted the award on behalf of "so many beautiful, talented, hard-working kids" and paid tribute to his daughter Yves for her dedication to the kaupapa.

He was "totally surprised" to win but honoured for everyone who helped organise the trust's activities.

His goal was to provide youth with opportunities they might not otherwise get.

"The more friendships and networks they have, the better their lives will be and the better we'll be as a community."

The trust was inclusive and not restricted to Māori youth. The only requirement was that members ''have the heart for it".

The trust's next trip is a rugby sevens tour of Europe for New Zealand girls of Dutch descent.

It's not the first time Brown has been on stage at the community awards. In 2013 another youth sports group he founded, Ki-o-rahi Akotanga Iho, also took out the supreme title.

Speakers at this year's awards ceremony included Henare O'Keefe, a Hastings district councillor, "ambassador of love" and foster parent to more then 200 children; and Therese Wickbom, founder of the Bald Angels Trust and last year's supreme winner.

Wickbom spoke of the importance of forming partnerships with other groups because "going solo to fix the world just ain't going to work".