I was lucky to attend the New Zealander of the Year awards night last week, which is an evening that celebrates many of this country's unsung heroes.
Awards like top community and local hero honours are given out and people who have given so much to this country but are seldom heard or seen are celebrated.
The premier award is the New Zealander of the Year Award. The finalists this year were Catriona Williams, founder of the CatWalk Spinal Cord Injury Trust, Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi and Dr Lance O'Sullivan. No Maori in the previous four years had made the final in this category, so it was fantastic to see Whaea Iritana and Lance being honoured.
I know that when I single out Maori that some people find this irritating and perceive this as rascist.. It's just a sad fact though that Maori are not acknowledged and recognised enough across mainstream New Zealand so when we have some success it's only right that it is brought to everyone's attention. And that was without doubt the case last week.
Iritana Tawhiwhirangi is an icon in the Maori world. She is 85 and is seen as the matriarch of the kohanga reo movement. She was the leader for years and is one of the most inspiring speakers and leaders in Maoridom.
Labour Party leader David Cunliffe has shown extraordinary courage with his appointment of Matt McCarten as his new chief of staff.
Labour has been languishing in the polls and the only bright light for them has been the performance of Shane Jones.
It's well known that Mr Cunliffe has not had the majority support within his caucus and Mr McCarten with his no-nonsense tough guy approach will be seen as the man who can pull them together.
The appointment of Mr McCarten has now clearly defined where Labour is coming from Matt is the most well-known left wing activist in the country.
Labour have been reluctant to be seen as a left wing party, in fact they have comfortably straddled the centre of the political spectrum which is seen by most experts as the position where you must be if you want to be the government.
The Labour Party's Shane Jones made an outstanding start to the political year after he accused Australian owned supermarket Countdown of extorting payment from New Zealand suppliers in a way that amounted to corruption, racketeering and blackmail.
Jones said that some firms had been told that their products would not be placed on the shelves of supermarkets unless they made back-dated payments and offered remuneration as compensation for losses.
Jones has cleverly used Parliamentary privilege to put his allegations and his performance has been stunning.
He described Countdown's behaviour as repugnant and the culture of Countdown as something that Tony Soprano would have been proud of.
Former National Party Minister and now Food and Grocery Council chief executive Katherine Rich supported his view and Labour knew they were on to a winner.
Mainstream media finally got it sort of right with this year's coverage of Waitangi Day.
For years we have been subjected to sensational, over-the-top and dishonest coverage from the media.
In fact if you watched the news in previous years you could be forgiven for thinking the only thing that happened was the Harawira family and Maori activists were abusing people.
Of course nothing could be further from the truth.
While the Harawira whanau is without doubt a significant feature of Waitangi, it has more often than not been misrepresented by mainstream media.
When I look back at 2013, I can say it's been a year of two halves with highlights and lowlights for Maoridom. This is what stood out for me.
On the national front, gay marriage is now legal - and guess what? The sun came up the next morning despite those who opposed it believing the world was going to end.
I am not a gay rights campaigner but I am a supporter of people making their own informed choices and not having others' views rammed down their throats, so I had no problems supporting this issue.
My mate John Tamihere tested the political waters and dipped his toe into the Labour pool.
However, there are still plenty within the red army who don't like or even want JT back.
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