It was an extraordinary night for some ordinary Kiwis who became heroes.

The Pride of NZ finalists - all chosen for their significant contribution to their respective communities and environment - entered the black-tie event wearing a dazzling display of formal dress, before mingling with special guests over drinks while waiting for the awards to begin.

READ MORE: Pride of NZ Awards: Couple's honour salutes courage in heartbreak

Radio personalities Stacey Morrison and Paul Flynn hosted the ceremony and kept everyone entertained throughout the night, and performances by musicians Jamie McDell and Boh Runga received a warm reception.

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The 22 flower-adorned tables hosted just over 200 people - a collection of proud family members, friends and colleagues mixed with media stars and executives, Kiwi sports legends and New Zealand's business elite.

Among the high-profile attendees were judges Sir Peter Leitch, former Tall Black and Breakers player Dillon Boucher and former Silver Fern Bernice Mene.

They mingled with other guests including personal trainer Shaun Rankin - who won an award - and Ecostore pioneer Malcolm Rands.

NZME chief executive Jane Hastings welcomed the crowd before outlining the inspiration behind the Pride of NZ campaign.

One of the most exciting aspects of the awards was the exposure and potential they gave the finalists and winners in their own communities, she said.

ECO Stores Malcolm Rands, Bernice Mene and Former Tall Black and Breakers player Dillon Boucher arrive at the Pride of NZ national awards. Photo / Greg Bowker
ECO Stores Malcolm Rands, Bernice Mene and Former Tall Black and Breakers player Dillon Boucher arrive at the Pride of NZ national awards. Photo / Greg Bowker

"People who on a daily basis are choosing to work tirelessly and selflessly to help others and the environment are New Zealand's true heroes," Ms Hastings said.

"The Pride of New Zealand Awards shines a spotlight on these people and aims to promote their efforts to garner greater support and to thank them for being truly exceptional individuals."

The awards celebrate Kiwi volunteers, campaigners, fundraisers, caregivers and others who go above and beyond for others.

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TSB Bank chief executive Kevin Murphy said: "We had an overwhelming response to this campaign, and far more votes than were expected - which just goes to prove that you, our 24 finalists this evening, have touched the hearts of many. We're honoured to be involved with this initiative which recognises those unsung heroes doing great things for others in our communities ... and the calibre of those recognised this year has again blown us away."