Former All Black Sir La'auli Michael Jones and Dame Valerie Adams were among the 40 Pacific leaders honoured for their services to their communities over the last three years.
Minister for Pacific Peoples Alfred Ngaro says leaders like La'auli Sir Michael Jones and Dame Valerie Adams pave the way for the future of Pacific success.
"We're breaking ceiling. We're achieving things to show that not only we can be great in Pacific but we can be great in mainstream as well," he says.
Among those honoured was long-time Niuean community and sports leader Sally Tupetalamataone Ikinofo.
She was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to education and the Pacific community and says it's a pleasure to be recognised at such a level.
"We can do really well in New Zealand working as a collective, fulfilling our parents' dreams when they left the islands to come to New Zealand to offer us a better lifestyle and a better education," she says.
Almost 300 guests attended the celebration at the Lesieli Tonga Auditorium in Mangere.
Co-owner of Samoan fashion line MENA and National candidate for Mangere, Agnes Loheni, says it's fitting Pacific communities celebrate the successes of outstanding leaders.
"These are our champions. These are our heroes," she says.