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Sport NZ announces 2022 Sport and Recreation Award winners

Sport NZ announces 2022 Sport and Recreation Award winners

31 October 2022


Sport NZ has tonight recognised the winners of the annual New Zealand Sport and Recreation awards as part of its annual conference in Christchurch.

Around 250 people, including leaders from across the sector, gathered at Te Pae Convention Centre to acknowledge and congratulate the winners, all of whom are instrumental in supporting New Zealanders to be physically active.

“Tonight’s ceremony is all about recognising the wonderful people and celebrating the passion, dedication and incredible mahi they deliver throughout the sector, day in and day out, across Aotearoa. This mahi enables hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders to be physically active every week,” says Sport NZ Chief Executive Raelene Castle.

“We’d also like to acknowledge the difficulties experienced throughout the sector over the past 12 months, as we’ve worked through the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The work that’s been done, and the resilience shown, is remarkable.

“This year we are also proud to see the Māori Participation award, which was awarded in honour of Jim Maniapoto last year, renamed the Jim Maniapoto Memorial Taonga – Excellence in Impacting Māori Participation as Māori award.”

The awards night coincides with Sport NZ’s Connections Conference which is held annually for sector leaders.  This year the conference is themed ‘Creating a Brighter Future Mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei - for us and the generations after us’ and features speakers from a range of national and international experts across disciplines including sport, bi-culturalism, wellbeing, sustainability and climate change.

Sport NZ received a record 61 entries across eight categories for the awards.  A full list of winners can be found below.



The New Zealand Sport and Recreation award winners for 2022 are:


Netball New Zealand and Cadbury

Cadbury partnered with Netball NZ (NNZ) as their official Volunteer Partner to recognise and reward volunteers.  The overall objective of the partnership was to help recruit volunteers, ensure they feel supported and valued, and help spread the passion for volunteering throughout Netball communities.



Golf New Zealand

Golf New Zealand has made significant progress in this area, launching a new strategy for women and girls titled ‘Our Ambition’, launching their Disability Action plan which received funding from Sport NZ, and establishing a landmark partnership agreement with the New Zealand Māori Golf Association.



Softball New Zealand – Poiuka Tairāwhiti

Softball NZ adopted a locally led approach to community development by partnering with local organisation, Poverty Bay Rugby Union.  This collaboration was designed to deliver the sport beyond Gisborne and drive connectivity within the regional townships by directly engaging communities and developing quality opportunities and experiences for young people.



WORD – Youth Mountain Bike Adventures

WORD is a non-profit youth mountain bike organisation, committed and passionate about creating awesome experiences to build confidence in youth, help them develop new friendships and foster a life-long love of mountain biking.  WORD takes a holistic approach to its programmes, focussing on not just creating great riders, but also amazing young people.  WORD embraces a youth centred leadership approach, reduces barriers to participation and creates opportunities for connection.



Ashley Peters, WORD

Ashley Peters is the CEO of WORD and founded the non-profit organisation in 2013 to get more rangatahi out on their bikes and encourage growth through adventure.  WORD started with two instructors and eleven kids in Wellington, and has grown to more than 400 kids a term, with 80 instructors across Wellington, Wanaka and Christchurch.  Much of this growth is due to Ashley’s drive, determination, heart and vision.  On a day to day basis you can find Ashley coordinating the leadership team across the three regions, working on plans to be the best mountain biking organisation in Aotearoa.



Lara Collins, Waka Ama NZ

Lara Collins began at Waka Ama NZ as a volunteer and has been CEO of the organisation for more than 10 years.  Under Lara’s leadership, Waka Ama NZ has been one of the fastest growing sports in Aotearoa, with membership doubling to now sit at more than 6,000 across 89 clubs.  Lara has been instrumental in bringing Waka Ama into the mainstream, encouraging it as a sport which brings cultures together around strong tikanga and whānau values.  Lara has a deep caring and respect for others and believes in the transformative impact that Waka Ama can have on the lives of its participants.



NZ Māori Rugby League

NZ Māori Rugby League (NZMRL) celebrates being Māori, using rugby league as the vehicle.  Based around Tikanga, their values are aligned to the kingitanga.  Their Kaupapa is centred on participation, inclusiveness and whakawhanaungatanga and is designed from tamariki, teina, rangatahi, wahine and tane.  NZMRL works with haapu, iwi and rohe from around the motu to help participation in an all Māori environment.  They make their kaupapa affordable for whānau, and guide and assist them to feel comfortable to become involved. The unique difference with NZMRL is that everything has a Māori lens, administered by Māori, for Māori.



Dr Mike Boyes MNZM

Leigh Gibbs ONZM

Fred Strachan QSM


Media contact:

Michelle Pickles

Group Media Manager

021 833 244

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