A prominent Wellington kaumatua, Te Paekiomeka Ruha has received a prestigious award from Victoria University of Wellington.
She was awarded the Hunter Fellowship - the most distinguished general award the university can bestow - at a ceremony on Monday.
The award acknowledges Ms Ruha's substantial contribution to advancing Victoria University's strategic directions and interests, including serving as kaumatua for the university's Te Herenga Waka marae.
Ms Ruha had no idea why her name was put forward and still finds it hard to believe she's been awarded the Fellowship
She says, when the Vice-Chancellor came to see her last week to tell her of the award she was in a state of shock.
Ms Ruha has been instrumental in supporting cultural development, the Maori language and education in the Wellington region for the past 60 years.
She has twice been recognised for her services to Maori, receiving an ONZM and a QSM.