A Te Arawa woman who was inspired to join the Maori health service after her own son became unwell has won a prestigious national award.
Helen Herbert's son contracted rheumatic fever more than a decade ago. He was hospitalised for a month, had to have regular injections and could not play sport for a year.
Mrs Herbert was upset to learn the disease could have been prevented and, wanting to help other whanau affected by the illness, joined a team running a campaign to prevent rheumatic fever.
Ten years on, Mrs Herbert is the national rheumatic fever co-ordinator, leading the prevention of rheumatic fever in Maori communities throughout the country.
Mrs Herbert, who lives in Whangaroa, has been awarded the Public Health Association's Tu Rangatira mo to Ora award at the organisation's annual conference in Wellington.
The award recognises leadership in hauora, or Maori health development.