A Far North group whose promotion of traditional Māori games has achieved global recognition was the big winner at this year's Trustpower Far North community awards, presented in Waitangi on Tuesday night.
Trustpower's Abbie Siely said the KaiMatariki Trust, founded by physical education teacher turned Māori games exponent Harko Brown, stood out for the judges because of its global impact.
"KaiMatariki Trust has gained an international reputation as a leader in the preservation and celebration of indigenous culture through its focus on traditional Māori games and customs," she said.
"Through the promotion of nga taonga takoro (including stick, ball and string games, kapa haka, weaving, oratory, values coaching, physical fitness and kite-flying), the trust builds life skills amongst, and creates opportunities for, its members."
Over the last year the group had participated in a number of events, and cemented its place amongst indigenous groups internationally.
Last year, it had represented New Zealand at the second annual World Indigenous Games, hosted by the Enoch Cree Nation in Canada, and had been invited to host the next event.
The trust was currently in talks with the district council and iwi regarding that.
Other achievements over the past year included an invitation to an international kite-flying festival in Italy, hosting First Nations Cree at Waitangi Day celebrations, and teaching Māori games at Leiden University in The Netherlands.
The trust will represent the Far North at the 2018 Trustpower national community awards in Tauranga in March.
The other winners on Tuesday night were Allen Karena (Panguru Area School, Youth Community Spirit), the Tukau Community Fund (Moerewa/Kawakawa), Bay of Islands Coastguard, the Rarawa Netball Club, the Shade House Volunteers (Kerikeri) and Shine on Kaitaia.