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New Zealand Sport and Recreation Awards 2020

18 August 2020

Sport New Zealand is pleased to announce the finalists for the NZ Sport and Recreation Awards 2020.

The awards were due to be presented at a gala ceremony at the WinTec Atrium in Hamilton in mid-June. However a decision was made during COVID-19 to cancel the event this year.

Acknowledging the achievements of all those nominated, we are now delighted to announce the finalists for 2020, with the winners to be revealed later this month.

Following that, we announce the winners via our online channels.

Congratulations to all our finalists!

Commercial partnership award

The Commercial Partnership Award category is an opportunity to identify, celebrate, promote and encourage exceptional partnering with a commercial entity for the benefit of sport and recreation. The finalists for this award are:

Paralympics New Zealand and Adecco Group  

Adecco and Paralympics NZ have enjoyed a long-standing, strong partnership over 12-years. Adecco Group is an international recruitment company with 16 branches in New Zealand. The partnership is driven by shared values of promoting diversity, inclusion and social change and focuses on the wellbeing of Para-athletes. The first initiative created through the partnership is the Adecco Athlete Career Programme (ACP) which is designed to assist Para-athletes at all levels with the preparation, training and skills required to enter the workforce. The second is the Adecco Prime Minister’s Dinner, an annual black-tie event with the objective of raising awareness of Paralympics NZ, Paralympians and Para-athletes within the corporate sector.

Sport Northland and Top Energy  

The partnership between Sport Northland and Top Energy (the Far North electricity and lines network operator) is long-standing (established in 1996) with the core values of each fundamentally aligning. Both contribute to more healthy, happy and connected communities and both believe in building a sustainable initiative and supporting the capability of schools. The initiative focuses on water safety for tamariki through the provision of the Top Energy WaterSafe programme. It has evolved over the years, with the overall aim being to raise the water safety and swim to survive skills of tamariki, this provides teachers with the confidence to deliver these skills. The partnership generates benefits for the community and for tamariki who learn about keeping themselves and others safe in, on and around water.

Triathlon New Zealand and Suzuki New Zealand  

Triathlon NZ and Suzuki New Zealand have partnered for over 10 years. Both organisations have a commitment to creating a positive way of life and demonstrate commitment to each other’s core values. This sets the foundation for the partnership. The long-standing alliance has allowed an evolving relationship that has brought positive outcomes for both partners. For example, Suzuki NZ have provided promotional support to drive participation in Triathlon New Zealand National Championship events with a free vehicle give-away and opportunities to connect dealers with their customer base.

Community impact award

The Community Impact Award identifies, celebrates and encourages collaborative projects which positively impact children, young people and their whānau. The finalists for this award are:

Aktive - Good Sports®  

Good Sports® is a culture change initiative which aims to create positive sporting experiences for children by educating and supporting key adult influencers in youth sport: parents, coaches, teachers and sport administrators. Good Sports encourages positive adult behaviours that enhance children’s experiences in sport and comprises workforce development, community and bespoke workshops, educational resources, marketing and communications. To date 300 people have attended the Good Sport Developers course. The initiative is continually developing including engagement with Māori, Indian and Chinese with workshops delivered in Māori, Hindi and Mandarin.

Hutt City Council - Play in the Hutt  

Play in the Hutt is a movement kick-starting action on play. A partnership between Hutt City Council and Healthy Families Lower Hutt, the aim of the movement is to create strong foundations to ensure tamariki are able to be physically active throughout their life-stages, starting with play at a young age. It recognises that quality play experiences for our tamariki will enhance their development and enrich the lives of Lower Hutt residents. The initiative works with every primary school in the area through a spectrum of delivery methods. One is the ‘Build + Play’ – a play-based physical literacy project in a mobile trailer, with over 12,000 uses so far, it is so popular it is now booked out a year in advance.

New Zealand Golf - LOVE Golf Futures  

LOVE Golf Futures is about enriching the lives of young people by creating experiences that inspire a lifelong love of golf. LOVE Golf Futures was created by consulting with the wider sector, international research and most importantly, listening to the voice of young people. A multi-element approach was utilised in a marketing campaign to increase the profile of golf, empower young people to play their version of the game (not just the traditional 18-holes), co-develop new education modules and the creation of hubs to enable the ability to play at multiple courses. Since the launch of LOVE Golf Futures, national membership and rounds played have increased for the first time in 6 years.

Event excellence award

The Event Excellence Award recognises and celebrates best practice event planning and delivery in the sport and recreation sector. The finalists for this award are:

Tennis New Zealand - Love Tennis 2019  

Love Tennis was a nationwide open weekend that took place on 7 and 8 September 2019. A joint approach from Tennis NZ, Regional Sports Organisations and local clubs, it provided the platform for collaboration that saw 128 tennis clubs from Kaitaia to Dunedin open their doors to introduce tennis to a wider audience. Over 14,500 people engaged in the weekend and generated a 6% growth in national club membership. The weekend was a success and a key part of that was the cross-community collaboration to showcase that love is not just a score in tennis.

Ultimate Events Productions - Kathmandu Coast to Coast 2019  

Founded in 1983, the Coast to Coast has grown to be one of the world’s largest multi-sport events. Held annually in February, the 2019 event saw 1035 athletes test themselves by traversing the width of the South Island. The event was a sell-out, with big crowds gathering at the start on Kumara Beach and the finish at the New Brighton Pier. This is more than just an event for athletes, it is part of the culture of New Zealand. The organisers work hard every year to honour the legacy, evolve the identity and create ownership of the event among the communities of the West Coast and Christchurch.

Yachting New Zealand - Hyundai 49er, 49erFX, Nacra 17 World Championships 2019  

This event is the world championships for three of the Olympic Boat Classes, and 2019 was the first time the event was held in New Zealand. Two-hundred and sixty volunteers were recruited to support the event, with 15,000 volunteer hours clocked up over six days. The event was broadcast live on Sky Sports, a world-first for an Olympic class event. Legacy was a key consideration in the planning and delivery of the event. One part of this was the achievement of platinum status for environmental sustainability and the accelerated clean up at Okahu Bay.

Leadership in diversity and inclusion award 

The Leadership in Diversity and Inclusion Award recognises innovative initiatives which support diversity and inclusion within sport and recreation, such as access, participation, leadership and community connection. The finalists for this award are:


Aktive’s vision is for Auckland to be the world’s most active city. To achieve this they have outlined seven strategic priorities, including partnering with Māori and keeping pace with the way Auckland is changing and becoming more diverse. Aktive recognises the ways in which Aucklanders participate in sport, play and active recreation, and they acknowledge it is changing. They are now working to empower stakeholders to drive and champion diversity and inclusion, with the priority that sport and recreation organisations in Auckland are representative of, and relevant to, Auckland’s communities. The initiatives Aktive is creating are multifaceted and evolving. For example, to support their work, they have developed partnerships with the Superdiversity Institute and AUT Sport Performance Research Institute NZ. This partnership led to the inaugural Tāmaki Makaurau: today and tomorrow – leading diversity in sport event that was attended by more than 70 sport and recreation leaders. Internally, to empower their own staff, Aktive have introduced an internal Culture Club. Part of this is the opportunity to take part in activities including games from different cultures and abilities, such as Ki O Rahi, Kabaddi and Goalball run by Blind Sports NZ.

New Zealand Golf  

In 2019, New Zealand Golf launched LOVE Golf All Abilities, a nationally coordinated approach to create opportunities for young people and adults with a disability to play and enjoy golf. The approach focused on golf as an inclusive sport for all, highlighting the sport’s adaptability and inclusiveness. Fundamental to the approach was investment into local clubs via education programmes and the creation of connections which have fostered collaboration amongst organisations both in New Zealand and internationally. There have been many positive outcomes of this approach including increased visibility of disabled golfers, more young people and adults playing the sport and importantly, the development of a safe, welcoming and friendly environments led by local clubs and coaches.

Northern Football Federation  

The Northern Football Federation strives to cater to the emerging demands of the respective regions it governs. With the changing demographics of New Zealand and Auckland in particular, the Federation recognised how elements such as language barriers and cultural differences have previously prevented and limited the conversation and interaction between the Federation and other community groups. Recognising that these barriers exist, Northern Football Federation decided to look at ways to tackle the barriers. One approach they have taken is the translation Initiative. This initiative started with the translation of the entry level senior coaching course into mandarin. The response was resounding with 23 people attending, leading to the translation of a further course, NZ Football's Level 1 referee course. The success of the initiative has emboldened the game and shown how sport can bring diverse ethnic communities closer together through a shared interest and passion. They are now looking at expanding the translation initiative to further engage communities.

Sport Waikato  

This is ME® is a change-based initiative developed by Sport Waikato that focuses on growing women and girls participation in sport, physical activity and recreation. The initiative aims to break down barriers to participation through images and stories shared by women and girls. It also aims to grow participation and provide individuals with opportunities to be active and groups to have fun together. The unique approach combines community and secondary school activations, leadership training, provider education and community partnerships as well as targeted messaging to challenge dominant and problematic imagery of females. The initiative empowers women and girls to connect with one another and to take the lead on conversations about their participation in physical activity. This is ME® has increased connection and leadership capability among women and girls alongside seeing a visible growth in participation. Over 1200 girls and women have participated in This is ME® community-led activations.

Future leaders' scholarship

The purpose of the Future Leaders' Scholarship is to identify, celebrate, promote and encourage an emerging leader, aged 40 or under, who has a proven track record of leadership. The finalists for this award are:

Andrew Corkill - Sport Waikato  

A proud Waikato ‘product’ growing up in Matamata, Andrew is extremely passionate about both the people in his region and the physical and intrinsic benefits that physical activity provides. Since arriving as the General Manager, People and Communities in 2017, Andrew quickly made a significant impact by challenging the status quo. He led his team through transformation amid a restructure upon his arrival and rejuvenated and inspired his team to join the ‘northbound train’ that is Sport Waikato’s ten-year strategic plan - “Moving Waikato 2025”. He has successfully led large teams toward common goals whilst instigating change across programmes to focus on the ‘why’ and ‘how’. Prior to joining Sport Waikato, Andrew forged an impressive territorial authority career that included stints with the Matamata Piako District Council, Hamilton City Council and Waikato District Council over a nine-year period. Outside of his direct work, he dedicates his time to the wider community in a voluntary capacity. He is an established board member of Te Ao Marama School in Hamilton as well as the Chair of the mental health organisation and not-for-profit Progress to Health.

Jake Wilkins - New Zealand Olympic Committee  

Jake has worked for the NZOC for nearly 13 years, the last nine as Team Services Director, where he has led the operations, performance and culture of teams to all Games (Summer and Winter Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, Youth Games and Pacific Games). For major Games, Jake takes on the role of Deputy Chef de Mission and has successfully carried out this leadership role at Delhi 2010, London 2012, Sochi 2014, Glasgow 2014, Rio 2016, Gold Coast 2018. Jake's leadership and experience has been recognised internationally with him being selected to represent Commonwealth Games Associations and National Olympic Committees on the Gold Coast 2018 and Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commissions. The Commissions review the progress and provide feedback/advice to the Local Organising Committees for each Games. For many years Jake has been on the Governance Group of the Association of Multisport Organisations. Through this experience and his knowledge of data systems and processes he was selected to represent National Olympic Committees on the IOC's Sports Data Steering Group, a role he has performed since 2016. Prior to joining the NZOC, Jake worked in University Sport in both Australia and New Zealand delivering National events.

Kylie Turuwhenua-Tapsell - Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti  

Kylie’s passion has always been to work alongside groups with marginalised voices within communities, with the goal of bringing their aspirations to the fore. Kylie's leadership as General Manager of Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti has had a huge influence. Her passion for community and youth-led ways of working have provided the platform needed to build meaningful relationships with key stakeholders across the region. Kylie played a critical role in forming the Tairāwhiti Sports Collective through meeting the key stakeholders, developing relevant communications and designing/facilitating workshops. The Collective Is a grouping of influential leaders from sporting codes and clubs. Its purpose is to share, collaborate and advocate for quality sporting experiences for young people in Tairāwhiti. Further to this, Kylie developed Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti’s first Effectiveness for Māori Strategy and kept at the forefront of the work to ensure staff and stakeholders were on board. Kylie undertook significant research, sought advice and guidance from relevant experts, and held regular review and reflection sessions with staff and the Board. In addition to driving the organisation’s mission, Kylie Is a tireless advocate for staff and has supported her team to ensure they are provided with the professional development opportunities they need, with her level of impact shown through the positive feedback she receives from her fellow colleagues.

Luke Morriss - Aktive  

Luke has a background of work in National Sport Organisations, where he has been the Coaching & Development Director at Squash New Zealand and the all-encompassing Director at Boccia New Zealand. He has experience coaching basketball and swimming at the community level and has attended three Paralympic Games (Athens, Beijing and London) as a spectator, coach-assistant and event manager. Luke is the Portfolio Manager at Aktive leading the Auckland Approach to Schools, Sector Development and KiwiSport. Luke has brought a breath of knowledge and experience to his roles at Aktive and has successfully led the delivery of a range of programmes and large projects. One of these was the structuring of a shared Aktive and delivery partner team and creation of individual work plans for the year. This was a co-created process that used a common template to detail the regional priorities aligned with local targets. This approach was well received and as a result saw a growth in the number and capability of trainers. It has led to continued growth in the number of people from diverse background involved in the various programmes. Luke is a driven and open leader who continually seeks to expand his knowledge and also his impact in the sector by taking on mentoring opportunities.

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