Chair of the judging panel Peter Dale said the number and range of outstanding nominations in every category pointed to the high-quality work being carried out across the sector.
"Nominations range from high performance campaigns which delivered great results at Rio to those showing the positive impact sport can have on social issues in communities," says Mr Dale.
"In total they exemplify just what sport and active recreation can do for our national wellbeing."
The New Zealand Sport and Recreation Awards, now in their tenth year, are organised by Sport NZ and presented in conjunction with its annual Connections Conference, which will this year be held in Auckland on 29 and 30 May.
Geoff Barry, General Manager of Community Sport at Sport NZ, said sport and recreation bodies needed to think and act differently to attract New Zealanders, especially with the range of other pastimes on offer in today's technological world.
"We know that overall participation has been declining. Our aim is to arrest that and we are delighted with the quality and range of this year's finalists, not least because they show us that our partners are just as committed as we are to keeping the country active," he said.
The New Zealand Sport and Recreation Awards consist of five categories. In addition to shortlisting for each, the judges considered nominations for the C K Doig Leadership Award, to be announced with the winners at the award ceremony on 29 May.
The finalists by category (in alphabetical order) are:
Badminton New Zealand and OnePure
Paralympics New Zealand and ACC, Cadbury and Sanford Ltd
Sport Northland and ASB Partnership
Activating the Wairoa Community - Sport Hawke's Bay
The Northeast Pathways project - Hutt City Council
The Pasifika Aotearoa Cup, Women's Rugby Festival - NZ Rugby
2016 World Bowls Championships - Bowls NZ
Aon 2016 Youth Sailing World Championships - Yachting NZ
Crankworx Rotorua - Sport Bay of Plenty
Te WÄÅnanga o Aotearoa Waka Ama Sprint National Championships - Waka Ama NZ
High Performance Campaign:
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke 49er class, 2016 Rio Olympic Games Campaign - Yachting NZ
Sophie Pascoe, 2016 Rio Paralympic Games Campaign - Paralympics NZ
Tom Walsh, 2016 Olympic Games Campaign - Athletics NZ
Basketball NZ Enables 'Glory League' and Gamifies Basketball - Basketball NZ
Community Playgroups - NZ Rugby League
Northland Rugby, Blue Card - NZ Rugby
The judging panel comprised Peter Dale (Chair), Sir John Wells, Selwyn Maister, Jennifer Gill and Geoff Barry.