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Maori of the Year - Winners

Nga Toa Whakaihuwaka
Maori of the Year 2011 - WINNERS

All Black Piri Weepu has been named Maori of the Year 2011 on TVNZ's Marae Investigates programme Nga Toa Whakaihuwaka. Piri won the sport section and then came out ahead of eight other category winners to take the Supreme Award and a specially carved pounamu trophy.

NARK campaigner Cherie Sweeney was recognised for her fight against child abuse while international artist Michael Parekowhai won the Arts category ahead of singers Tiki Taane and Ria Hall. 

The organisers of the endurance sports event Iron Maori were recognised for their contribution to M?ori health and King's College was acknowledged for introducing compulsory Maori language classes for all Year 9 students.

The Business section went to Tainui Group Holdings Ltd whose multi-million dollar projects last year included the opening of the Novotel Hotel at Auckland International Airport. Iwi Leaders' Forum Chairman, Mark Solomon was recognised for his contribution to treaty settlements and iwi leadership.

Aerospace Engineer Mana Vautier based in Houston, Texas won the Science/Innovation/Technology awards and veteran M?ori language campaigner Huirangi Waikerepuru was awarded for his life-long commitment to Reo Maori.

TVNZ's General Manager of Maori and Pacific Programmes Paora Maxwell says the inaugural Nga Toa Whakaihuwaka programme, on the eve of Waitangi Day, was a celebration of Maori excellence.

"We at TVNZ have been so proud to bring these awards to New Zealand demonstrating our role as the national broadcaster and also the thrill it has given us at celebrating Maori success in this way", says Paora Maxwell.

The full list of winners is as follows:

Arts                           Michael Parekowhai
Business                    Tainui Group Holdings Ltd
Community Service    Cherie Sweeney
Health                        Iron Maori, Heather Skipworth and Missy Mackey
Education                   King's College
Reo/Tikanga               Dr Huirangi Waikerepuru
Science/Technology/Innovation  Mana Vautier
Sport                         Piri Weepu
Treaty Issues              Mark Solomon