Bishop Te Kitohi Pikaahu is a familiar face in the North.
As the Bishop of Te Tai Tokerau, he has led services on Waitangi Day for 20 years, he plays an active role in many communities around the region and he is an advocate for the wellbeing of Māori and indigenous communities.
Now he has been made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the Anglican Church and Māori, in the 2021 New Year Honours.
Pikaahu said it was a blessing, not only to be honoured but to be able to serve the people of Te Tai Tokerau.
"Like all honours, they are very humbling. It's a recognition, not solely of myself but of the people I've been working with for the past 35 years here in the North, and as a bishop for the past 19 years."
Pikaahu is from Taipā and said his family had been heavily involved in the Anglican Church since his great-great grandfather was converted in 1837.
When Pikaahu was young, he and his family moved to Auckland and became part of the Anglican Māori Church.
"When I was confirmed at the age of 15, my faith deepened and my involvement in the church strengthened at that point."
In 2002, Pikaahu was consecrated a bishop and was recognised by the Archbishop of Canterbury as the youngest bishop in the global Anglican Communion at age 37.
Pikaahu has also led the promotion of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a framework for religious leadership within the Anglican Communion.
Meanwhile, in Northland, Pikaahu said because there were churches in nearly every community in Te Tai Tokerau - he had been active on various marae "for a very long time".
"You engage with all of the leadership within Tai Tokerau. Actually, it's more a privilege that I have as an Anglican bishop that one is invited to these various occasions, and one is invited to be present to speak and contribute. It's a blessing, honour and privilege."
This year had been particularly challenging for the bishop. Not only because of the nationwide lockdown - which saw Pikaahu share karakia online - but also because eight priests in the Bay of Islands area had passed away.
He said he was "exhausted" but it was very important he showed up.
"It's part of our response as a community to each other and our commitment to God as a community."
Pikaahu said when he was feeling exhausted, his faith and trust in God kept him going.
"I think also, one has to have a passion for it too. That allows you to have the drive to ensure that you can go from one hui to another, to Waitangi and so on. But also give the very best that you are able to."