The eight Central North Island iwi have been acknowledged for their strategic planning in the wake of their giant forestry settlement.
Tuwharetoa chair Tumu te Heuheu received the award on behalf of the iwi at the Auckland University Business School's Maori Business Awards on Wednesday, Waatea News reports.
Manuka Henare, the school's associate dean for Maori and Pacific development, says past winners of the award have included hapu groups and land trusts.
Dr Henare says the multi-iwi group stood out because it achieved unity after 20 years of division.
He says not only did they reach a point where they could all sign off on one settlement, but they decided in broad strategic terms what they want to do over the next 50 years in forestry, energy and carbon emissions.