IT was all about celebration and recognition of achievements at the annual Te Arawa Awards.

Hosted by Te Papa Takaro o Te Arawa, the event was held at The Holiday Inn in Rotorua on Friday and showcased talent throughout the iwi.

"It was a combination of months and months of preparation [to provide] a unique night of trying to acknowledge certain aspects of the iwi," Te Papa Takaro o Te Arawa spokesman Stephen Te Moni said.

"There is a huge focus on sporting prowess and our awards has that uniqueness where we bring a change of paradigm with the main focus on rangatahi (youth). But it's also highlighting to our rangatahi to strive for excellence and that's seen throughout the achievements of our different whanau, hapu and iwi."


Those recognised included the Crimp whanau who overcame the struggles of meningococcal disease in their family, Tumahaurangi Marae winning hapu of the year, along with trailblazer for New Zealand women's tennis, Ruia Morrison added to the iwi's Hall of Fame.

Mina Paul also received roll of honour membership for her achievements in lawn bowls. Rotorua Girls' High School head girl Moerangi Vercoe received the outstanding rangatahi achiever of the year award, which was presented to her by the family of high achiever Okeroa Te Waimiha Moana Douglas, who died in 2011.

The award was established in her memory.

Entertainment was provided throughout the night by Marcus Winter, also known as the Sandman, for his live artworks by placing sand on a lightbox, and manipulating sand to create images. Singer Russell Harrison, members of reggae band 1814 and Maori Television show Homai Te Pakipaki heat winner Isaac Harimate also performed.

The awards acknowledged excellence in sport, cultural activities, service to the community, academia and Te Arawa making positive contributions to whanau, hapu, iwi and marae.

Te Arawa Rangatahi Team(s) of the Year:
• Pukeroa under 10s Girls Te Toki Voyaging Waka Ama Team
• Rotorua Intermediate School Team Taonga
• Te Kapa Haka Raukura

Te Kotahitanga o Te Arawa (Te Arawa Fisheries) scholarship:
• Chante Paul
• Taylor Leigh Taute-Hohepa
• Tipene James
• Matangireia Yates-Francis
• Joshua Taylor
• Te Waiarangi Merito-Manley

Te Puhi o Te Arawa -
Outstanding Rangatahi Achiever of the Year:

• Moerangi Vercoe
Te Puia Te Arawa Whanau of the year award
• Crimp whanau
Te Puia Te Arawa Pride Hapu of the Year
• Tumahaurangi Marae
Te Puia Te Arawa Hall of Fame Membership
• Ruia Morrison (Tennis)
Te Puia Te Arawa Roll of Honour Membership
• Mina Paul (Lawn Bowls)


Te Arawa FM Team of the Year
• Team Wahine Toa White Water Rafting
New Zealand Community Trust Junior Sportswoman of the Year
• Awatea Leach (Basketball)
The Lions Foundation Junior Sportsman of the Year
• Logan Elers (Basketball)
Sport New Zealand Service to Sport
• Melissa Ruru (Volleyball, indoor and beach)
Lakes District Health Board Senior Sportswoman of the Year
• Dale Thomas (White Water Rafting)