16 Jul 2012

Rotorua woman 'simply the best'

10:53 pm on 16 July 2012

A Rotorua wahine with a passion for Tina Turner's music was declared 'simply the best' at the annual Matariki Te Arawa women's awards in the city on Friday.

Beatrice Yates, who is 72 and known as Aunty Bea, has been recognised for a lifetime of contribution to her tribe - winning the supreme award.

She has been a school teacher for more than 50 years and has been instrumental in promoting her iwi's culture and language - and helped to set up Te Whakapono Health Trust.

Ms Yates - who has Maori, Scottish, Indian, Fijian and Irish ancestry - is also known locally for her career in performing arts since the early 1970s.

Event manager Te Ringahuia Hata say Aunty Bea stole the show with a medley of Tina Turner songs.

Ms Hata says she sang Simply the Best, a gimmick she's been using for years to raise money for good causes, such as hospitals and schools.

There were also awards for Donna Grant, Dr Cathy Dewes, Georgina Te Heuheu, Ngamoni Huata, Punohu McCausland and Norma Sturley.