A Far North trust which has helped home families formally living in poor conditions, and a Northland waka ama champion are finalists in awards which celebrate Maori talent and achievement.

The annual Matariki Awards, which will be held at the Auckland War Memorial Museum next month, recognise people and groups across a broad range of fields and industries from arts and entertainment to te reo and tikanga.

He Korowai Trust is a finalist in the Hiwa te Rangi Award for Community, while waka ama champion Tupuria King is a finalist in the Te Waita Award for Sport.

Ricky Houghton, CEO of He Korowai Trust, said he was proud the trust was a finalist in the Matariki Awards. Photo/Peter Jackson
Ricky Houghton, CEO of He Korowai Trust, said he was proud the trust was a finalist in the Matariki Awards. Photo/Peter Jackson

He Korowai Trust CEO Ricky Houghton said the Far North trust has been around for 17 years during which it has housed 17 adults and 43 children in papakainga, turned the old Kaitaia hotel into a 35-room emergency housing for singles and couples, and " done much more".


"I was really proud. It's an opportunity to celebrate the efforts of all the staff here, the trustees, and the families that trust us with their lives. It's a beautiful way for all of us to collectively celebrate," Houghton said.

One of the trust's key projects was the papakainga which opened in Kaitaia last year.

Families living in the nine homes pay $250 per week and after 17 years it is envisaged they will own the homes.

They have access to social support, budgeting, medical care and more which comes with the housing. There is a strict no alcohol, no illegal drugs and no violence policy and on site there are fruit trees and a puna reo (a parent-led Maori early childhood centre).

Later in the year 10 to 12 more homes will be moved to the site.

"The families are doing really well. All of them were living in things like buses and cow sheds and lean-tos and substandard housing.

"The idea for these families is to help lift them up out of the mud and give them a really good footing to move on with their lives and their futures, and improve their quality of life at the same time."

Houghton said the trust's mission was to develop tino rangatiratanga (self-determination) by helping the families achieve their maximum potential, which was consistent with their work.

Meanwhile, Tupuria King has a raft of waka ama titles to his name.

At the 28th annual National Waka Ama Sprint Championships earlier this year he took out the prestigious premier men's w1 (singles) 250m dash title and claimed the premier men's w1 500m title.

He is currently in Tahiti for the VF Va'a World Distance Championship where he will paddle with the New Zealand Open Men squad.