Kura Precious Ones, a Wairoa voluntary support group for parents of children with special needs has been given a national award for its part in relieving the pressure of raising special needs children.
It's a group born out of a mothers' love for her autistic son.
"He's really charming, he's made friends without even using the words, or ngā kupu, he uses his face, his ngākau, his body and yeah, just everyone loves him," says Susan Tipuna.
But his special needs are what drove her to form Kura Precious Ones in 2015.
Since then around 30 families have joined the group.
"That's one of the most awesome things is that you walk away knowing you're not alone and when you think you're down and out and having a hard day there is someone else worse off than you," says Tipuna, "That's why I get really peeved off at people who don't appreciate their life".
The group was awarded the Te Whetū Mātaiata Award at the Trustpower National Community Awards in Queenstown for its work and ethos.
"It's really just acknowledging my son and my family through all the ups and downs, along with our Kura Precious Ones, and acknowledging them so they're not forgotten and that our children are really precious".
Labour MP Peeni Henare visited Wairoa and the group in Wairoa and was present during the awards ceremony.
"We've seen in the last decade that the previous government has reduced resources that support groups like this one. What we want to see is communities thriving and achieving their goals," he says.
The unexpected award means the group will receive a consultancy service package to assist with sustainability.