A childcare centre in the Northland town of Kawakawa has beat more than 50 other buildings across the Asia Pacific region to take top honours in the World Green Building Council's regional leadership awards.
The building is owned by the Ngati Hine Health Trust and is home to bilingual education for about 100 children aged from birth to five years old.
The building, Te Mirumiru, is the country's first commercial earth bank building. Its roof is covered with earth and grass and it has unglazed sides.
World Green Building Council chief executive Alex Cutler said Te Mirumiru is integrated with the landscape and pays homage to the tribe's customs and history - 'Ngati Hine of a hundred hills'.
Mr Cutler said the design is an outstanding example of a building that engages and educates children about their culture, customs and the environment.