Creative New Zealand honoured Pacific artists with awards for a variety of arts, including film music composition and multi-media performance in Auckland on Friday night.
Pacific Island Affairs Minister Georgina Te Heu Heu says the awards recognise the cultural strength of a fast-growing section of the New Zealand population.
The Senior Pacific Artist award went to the sculptor Filipe Tohi, who says the awards validate Pacific art.
The Heritage Award went to Molly Pihigia who works with a group of women, many in their 70s, on weaving projects using traditional materials but often incorporating modern designs.
Shigeyuki Kihara, a transgender Samoan artist known for tee-shirts and provocative performance pieces, won the contemporary Pacific Award.
Ms Kihara says it is time for Pacific artists to set the agenda when it comes to the value of their work.