This year's Paramount winner of New Zealand's Wallace Art Awards says the achievement gives Pacific people a visual presence in the country.
South Auckland artist Andy Leleisi'uao has been practising his art since the early 1990s.
Mr Leleisi'uao said he was fortunate to win the accolade, but what was important was striving to help other Pacific artists get to the top.
"There's a constellation of us that are working and practising every day and these younger artists need to track down the artist they enjoy and talk to them, you know, just make time to have coffee with them because there's quite a few of us now and I think in order for them to grow and their work to grow further they need to just talk to these wonderful artists that we have while they're still around."
Andy Leleisi'uao is now working towards exhibitions in the next couple of months in Raratonga and south Auckland's Fresh Gallery.