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Every second year Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga holds the Living Taonga Awards to celebrate out Māori community heroes and staunch marae, hapū and whānau supporters who are nominated by the Heretaunga community.

The triennial event began in 2012 as a way to acknowledge and recognise living treasures and is timed to coincide with Matariki — the Maori New Year.   It was a sell-out crowd in 2015 as the community came together to celebrate the unsung heroes of Heretaunga, Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae was the special guest speaker.

The awards were created by the Taiwhenua as a way of acknowledging the hard work, integrity and talent of the various individuals who reside in the area.

“We recognise our Heretaunga whanau, we recognise everyone right through all of the age brackets, from youth right through to the kaumatua,” said Mike Paku, chairman of the Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga back then.

“It’s an opportunity for the hau kainga (home people) to recognise their own, the opportunity to recognise them while they’re still alive; this is the central focus on why we created the awards.”

In its first year it received about 50 nominations and that number had gradually increased each year as have the categories.  The winners are picked by an independent panel of three judges and the only criteria nominees need to meet is that they must be resident within the Heretaunga area.

In 2018 the following people received awards;

Rangatahi Leadership – Harono Hokianga

Rangatahi Academic – Hemi Wong

Te Toi Huarewa Employee – Whetu Marama Paenga

Te Aka Matua Employer – Lesley Hokianga

Te Taiao Environment – Arconnehi (Aki) Paipper

Ringahora Selfless Service – Waipa Te Rito

Te Toi Whakairo Creativity – Ngatai Huata

Te Reo Rangatira – Waipa Te Rito

Te Toka Tū Moana Whānau Courage and Strength – The Tuimaseve Whānau

Te Toi Hauora Kaumātua Health & Wellbeing – Anne Hakiwai

Te Toi Hauora Kaumātua Health & Wellbeing

The next Heretaunga Living Taonga Awards will be held in 2010 so start thinking now about who you can nominate – who you regard as a treasure for the community, an unsung hero, a quiet achiever, or someone who dedicates their life to a good cause.

The 2018 awards were held at the Hawke’s Bay Showgrounds and some of the action was caught on video, watch here.

Our Living Taonga

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