The Sunpix Pacific Peoples Awards celebrates unsung heroes in Pacific communities.
The Awards shine a spotlight on the contribution Pacific People have made through their various endeavours across Aotearoa.
"The awards happened because we needed an event that honoured our communities," Sunpix Limited managing director Taualeo'o Stephen Stehlin said.
Sunpix Limited has been reporting on events affecting Pacific communities in Aotearoa, and the region, for more than 30 years.
Stehlin said those events highlighted the many good people doing great work in their communities, and that these unsung heroes deserved recognition.
He said it also shows the positive impact that Pacific people had in Aotearoa.
The selection process for award recipients begins with a call for nominations, followed by a due diligence process. Finally, the nominees are referred to a panel of judges.
"There are two winners for each category, it's different from other award shows in that there are no runner-ups because they are just winners and that's a more Pacific way of doing things," he said.
There are six categories for the awards: education, emerging and community leadership, enterprise, health and well-being, and Pacific service excellence.
The winners of the education category were Pacific Kids' Learning Limited and South Auckland Maths Challenge.
In her acceptance speech Katalina Ma, from the South Auckland Maths Challenge, said it was important to acknowledge the wider team: including the teachers, and the University of Auckland staff.
She said if Pacific students continue to succeed in maths and science, there are a lot of opportunities available to them.
"Especially in higher education, our students have something to offer, in terms of the cultural values, the language that they come through cultural, and adding that next extra layer of maths and science, it's amazing to think of what they could do further," Katalina said.
Frank Hicks of 'Make Them Proud' was one of the two winners of the Health and Well-being Award.
Hicks' organisation helps parents through family courts and private disputes. He said he's blessed to do what he does.
"If you have the ability, you have the responsibility to be able to make changes in the lives of a lot of children and what we do absolutely works, and it's been shown to work, so we can't stop. It has got to be done, and it's just a beautiful thing to see the positive effects that what we do has on families and children," Hicks said.
Pale Sauni was the other recipient in the Health and Well-being category.
Fibre Fale's mission is to create a future where Pacific People have digital equity, are confident pursuing pathways in digital technologies and see themselves as future creators. The organisation, co-founded by Julia Arnott-Neenee and Eteroa Lafaele, were one of the winners in the Enterprise award. Lafaele described what the award means for her.
"We have been going through many journeys where people underestimated us and I think this is a big stamp to show that, yeah, we are here for justice but also, this is an actual thing which is building a business as well."
Julia Arnott-Neenee had advice for young Pasifika, in particular women, wanting to get into the field.
"If you have a bright idea, if you've got a bold idea, if you've got something that you want to say and put forward, that's needed in this world, and that's valued in this world and that's what we believe should be celebrated in this world. We hope that when they see us being as unapologetic and as fierce and as proud we are, they know they can be that too," Arnott-Neenee said.
The co-writer and co-producer behind international hit film, Red, White and Brass, Halaifonua Finau is also a winner in the Enterprise category.
Finau and Tom Hern founded the Tavake Production company based in Tāmaki Makaurau.
The Emerging Leadership category celebrates the next generation of young Pacific leaders paving their own paths.
The two winners of this award were Aniva Clarke and Nele Kololo.
Clarke, a climate activist, is humbled by the award.
"There's still a long way to go in my leadership journey, she said.
"But I hope that it's the beginning of influencing change and advocating for change. We need that because our climate is in crisis and we have so many young people passionate about it and so the thing that I want is for as many young people to have their voices heard."
Giving back to her community in South Auckland is why Shirl'e Fruean started the Queen Shirl'e Academy - a pathway to performing arts for young people. Fruean received an award in the Community Leadership category.
She said this recognition shines a light on what they do.
"It's about seeing the children rising, seeing them come out of those struggles we go through and then elevating and being able to live their dreams. And when we see those transitions, that process and the transformation, and that's what fuels me to keep going because that's what saved lives."
Southseas Healthcare, Otara's largest Pacific health provider, was the other Community Leadership winner.
The Pacific Service Excellence category is awarded to an organisation that makes an important contribution to Pacific peoples and their work.
One of the winners in this category is Adult and Community Education (ACE) Aotearoa which is the lead body that promotes good practice for adult and community lifelong learning.
ACE's Analiese Robertson is thrilled their work has been recognised.
"It's sacred, it's humbling, and I think more than that, it's a tribute to our tupuna (ancestors)".
Robertson said celebrating the award with her family is wonderful.
"It means so much to have my family here to witness this. My nieces are here and I want them to see what greatness looks like, I don't speak about myself, I speak about every single person in this room."
K'aute Pasifika, a charitable trust based in Hamilton that provides health, education, employment, and social services, is the other winner of the Pacific Service Excellence category.