More of New Zealand's most influential Māori athletes of the last 30 years are Ngāpuhi, according to the recent Māori Sports Awards.
Eleven of the 30 athletes selected in this week's Māori Sports Awards 30 in 30 series most influential Māori athletes of the last three decades whakapapa to Ngāpuhi, five higher than the next most common iwi - Ngāti Porou.
In addition to one athlete from Ngāti Hine, there were 12 from Tai Tokerau. Five were in the top 10, which was released Thursday night. All were beaten by Ōhope's double Olympic canoeing champion Lisa Carrington, who was deemed the most influential Māori athlete between 1991-2020.
Highest among the Northlanders was wood chopping legend Jason Wynyard (Ngāti Maniapoto/Ngāpuhi) in fourth. Following in the footsteps of world champion wood chopping father Pae, Jason is considered one of the sport's greatest with more than 100 titles in various specialists.
Three Ngāpuhi athletes occupied the following fifth, sixth and seventh spots. Basketball hero Pero Cameron claimed fifth for his tenure with the Tall Blacks, playing more than 100 tests and captaining New Zealand at three world championships and two Olympic Games.
All Black loose forward Zinzan Brooke, famous for his long-distance drop goals, was sixth for his 58 tests for the national side and two Super Rugby titles as captain of the Blues. Warriors icon Stacey Jones (Ngāti Maniapoto/Ngāpuhi) was seventh given the impression he left on New Zealand's rugby league community.
In 10th was renowned Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua, who guided a broken team in 2018 to world champion status in 2019.
Black Ferns and Northland Kauri rugby star Portia Woodman was in 12th. Woodman, born in Kaikohe and claiming an All Blacks father and an All Blacks uncle, has won both a Sevens and 15s World Cup alongside her Commonwealth Games gold medal in 2018.
Close behind in 13th was Ngāpuhi rugby league legend Ruben Wiki, who won the NRL premiership with the Canberra Raiders before ending his 311-game NRL career with three seasons at the Warriors.
Well-known Kaeo-born New World supermarket owner Eric Rush was 15th, thanks to his reputation as one of Sevens rugby's greatest players. Also an All Black wing, Rush captained the All Black Sevens to two Commonwealth Games gold medals and seven world Sevens series titles in a 17-year career.
In 18th was squash player Leilani Joyce, who was the only Tai Tokerau-linked sportsperson listed outside Ngāpuhi. The Ngāti Hine/Ngāi Te Rangi/Tainui squash player reached No 1 in the world rankings and claimed Commonwealth Games gold in 2002 in the doubles and mixed doubles divisions.
Veteran Silver Fern midcourter Temepara Bailey was 22nd. The 2003 Māori Sports Awards supreme winner retired from the Silver Ferns in 2011 after 89 international matches.
Renowned sports administrator Raelene Castle, currently Sport New Zealand's chief executive, was 26th thanks to her chief executive roles with New Zealand Netball, the Canterbury Bulldogs NRL club and Rugby Australia.
Famed Paralympian Cameron Leslie was 29th as a three-time Paralympics 150m swimming medley champion and a member of the New Zealand Wheel Blacks rugby team.
The top 30 Māori Sports Awards most influential Māori sports people of the last 30 years (Tai Tokerau athletes highlighted):
1. Lisa Carrington - Te Aitanga-A-Māhaki/Ngāti Porou (Canoeing)
2. Michael Campbell - Ngāti Ruanui/Ngāi Rauru (Golf)
3. Wynton Rufer - Ngāti Porou (Football)
4. Jason Wynyard - Ngāti Maniapoto/Ngāpuhi (Wood Chopping)
5. Pero Cameron - Ngāpuhi (Basketball)
6. Zinzan Brooke - Ngāpuhi (Rugby)
7. Stacey Jones - Ngāti Maniapoto/Ngāpuhi (Rugby League)
8. Farah Palmer - Tainui/Ngāti Maniapoto (Rugby)
9. Benji Marshall - Ngāi Tuhoe (Rugby League)
10. Dame Noeline Taurua - Ngāpuhi (Netball)
11. Aaron Smith - Ngāti Kahungunu (Rugby)
12. Portia Woodman - Ngāpuhi (Rugby)
13. Ruben Wiki - Ngāpuhi (Rugby League)
14. Trent Boult - Ngāi Tahu/Ngāti Porou/Ngāi Te Rangi (Cricket)
15. Eric Rush – Ngāpuhi (Rugby)
16. Winston Reid - Tainui/Te Arawa (Football)
17. Peter Martin - Te Arawa (Paralympics Athletics)
18. Leilani Joyce - Ngāti Hine/Ngāi Te Rangi/Tainui (Squash)
19. Suzie Bates - Ngāi Tahu (Cricket/Basketball)
20. Honey Hireme-Smiler - Ngāti Raukawa/Ngāi Haua/Waikato-Tainui (Rugby League/Rugby)
21. Nathan Nukunuku - Ngāti Porou (Softball)
22. Temepara Bailey - Ngāpuhi (Netball)
23. Shane Bond - Ngāi Tahu (Cricket)
24. Sarah Hirini - Ngāti Kahungunu (Rugby)
25. Joelle King - Ngāti Porou (Squash)
26. Raelene Castle - Ngāpuhi (Sports Administrator)
27. Kayla Whitelock - Rangitāne (Hockey)
28. Cathy Millen - Ngāi Tuhoe (Power Lifting)
29. Cameron Leslie - Ngāpuhi (Paralympics Swimming/Wheelchair Rugby)
30. Shannon McIlroy - Ngāti Porou (Lawn Bowls)