Sport NZ has announced the finalists for its annual New Zealand Sport and Recreation Awards, which celebrate individuals and organisations making outstanding contributions to enhance people’s lives through sport and recreation.
"Sport and recreation plays an important role in the overall wellbeing of people in Aotearoa New Zealand. These awards recognise the work and achievements of those leading the way across the sector," says Sport NZ Chief Executive Raelene Castle.
The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on 21 June at Claudelands Event Centre in Hamilton, with 20 finalists shortlisted across five main category awards: Commercial Partnership, Community Impact, COVID-19 Response, Leadership in Diversity and Inclusion and Māori Participation.
The Māori Participation Taonga has been introduced for the first time this year to acknowledge an outstanding individual, group or organisation that contributes to whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori Wellbeing through physical activity.
Also new for 2021 is the COVID-19 Response Award, which recognises the achievements of organisations in response to the disruption and hardship caused by the pandemic.
The judging panel were highly impressed by the calibre of entries this year, especially given the challenges presented throughout 2020.
"We felt it important to acknowledge the disruption caused by COVID-19 and the immense effort that went on across the sector to keep organisations viable and New Zealanders moving. Through challenging times great leaders emerge and I believe the quality of entries this year reflects that," says Raelene.
In addition to the above award categories, the Susie Simcock Future Leaders' Scholarship and C.K. Doig Leadership Award are also awarded on the night, alongside the newly-named Sir Eion and Jan, Lady Edgar Lifetime Achievement Award.
The judging panel is comprised of Diana Puketapu (Chair), Andrew Leslie, Barry Maister CNZM, Bev Cassidy-MacKenzie, Dr Jim Mather and Brittany White.
The Māori Participation Award was judged independently by Howie Tamati MBE, Veronica Thompson and Te Miri Rangi.
The finalists by category (in alphabetical order) are:
Commercial Partnership Finalists:
Badminton New Zealand | Barfoot & Thompson
Hockey New Zealand | Architectural Profiles Limited (APL)
Golf New Zealand | DotGolf and National Golfing Unions of England, Wales and Ireland
Community Impact Finalists – Local/community:
Sport Canterbury - Poipoia! Time to Play with Te Ara Koropiko
Sport Hawke’s Bay - Ka Tipu ngā Kahikatea
Sport Waitakere - The Magic Play Box
Triathlon Tauranga - triSASSY - empowering young females to be active
Community Impact Finalists – Regional/national:
Basketball New Zealand - Hoops in Schools
Touch New Zealand - Community Connect - Igniting Potential
Sport Tasman - Active Recreation (RARA) for Refugee program: Nelson
COVID-19 Response Finalists (to be decided by public vote)
Basketball New Zealand
Leadership in Diversity and Inclusion Finalists:
The WaterBoy - Everybody's Game Initiative
Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti - Well Wāhine Week
Māori Participation Finalists:
Māori Football Aotearoa
New Zealand Rugby
Waka Ama NZ
Susie Simcock Future Leaders' Scholarship Finalists:
Kylie Turuwhenua-Tapsell - Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti
Luke Morriss – Aktive - Auckland Sport and Recreation
Robert Bruce - Got To Get Out