Dame Tariana Turia, the former Māori MP, has been recognised with the highest award – the Blake Medal – at the Sir Peter Blake Leadership Awards.
The former MP retired from politics in 2014, but has been recognised for her work as a civil servant, developing Whānau Ora and helping Māori, Pasifika and people with disabilities.
She is the first Māori woman to receive the Blake Medal.
Dame Tariana said the award was very unexpected and humbling.
She laughed and said she thought they had the wrong person when first told.