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Sport and Recreation Awards Winners

29 May 2017


The Commercial Partnership Award is an opportunity to celebrate exceptional partnering with a commercial entity in the sport and recreation sector.

Congratulations to Paralympics New Zealand and ACC, Cadbury & Sanford

Three key partnerships introduced through the innovative Spirit of Gold ® initiative provided Paralympics New Zealand with the commercial support to help secure 21 medals (including nine gold) at last year's Paralympics in Rio.

Each partnership raised the profile of the New Zealand Paralympic Team, emphasised the incredible achievements of the Para athletes, and helped secure unprecedented free-to-air coverage of the Paralympic Games on TV and across the media.

Campaign highlights included:

-                   promoting social inclusion and encouraging participation in Para sport by providing opportunities for disabled people through the ACC Paralympics New Zealand Open Days in Auckland, Waikato and Canterbury and the ACC Sports Rehab Pathway

-                   increasing Sanford internal employee and external stakeholder engagement by integrating with the Spirit of Gold Initiative to stage a series of events across the country, creating the Sanford Paralympics Games Fanzone and promoting a nutrition focussed Para athlete social media campaign

-                   aligning with Cadbury's global 'Joy' framework to launch the '#Bringonthejoy' campaign - showcasing New Zealand's Paralympians in a fun, exciting manner and calling on the public to leave messages of support for the team.



The Community Impact Award celebrates collaborative projects which have a positive impact on the community and community sport.

Congratulations to Hutt City Council for The Northeast Pathways Project

The North East Pathways Project grew from a desire to improve outcomes for students and families in the Taita/Pomare/Stokes Valley district of the Hutt Valley - where harsh socio-economic conditions prevail and students can face a range of distractions to their learning.  

The project uses sport to tie together seven schools and provide more compelling class content, and create a better opportunity for students to thrive and achieve. Involving whanau, local sports clubs, the Hutt Council and Sport NZ, it was the country's first formal example of sport being used as a context and a tool across an entire community.

This project has made a deep impact on the students, teachers and community. Since inception in 2014, the project has touched over 3,500 local people through in-school sport, family fitness programmes, community sports expos and class work. Thirteen community sports organisations are now plugged in.

Teacher confidence in delivering PE and sport is up, enrolments at the two focus schools have grown, achievement of National Standards is improving, attendance is up, and suspensions and expulsions down. In one participating class 74 percent of students consider school was 'more interesting than last year' compared to 47 percent in control classes.



The Event Excellence Award is a way to celebrate best practice event planning and delivery in the sport and recreation sector.

Congratulations to Yachting New Zealand for the Aon Youth Sailing World Championships 2016

The Youth Sailing World Championships is the annual pinnacle event for the world's best sailors aged 19 and under. 2016 saw sailors from 65 nations sailing in more than 260 boats across nine classes. It was also an opportunity to demonstrate New Zealand's ability to host future sailing events to World Sailing, particularly world championships for Olympic classes.

While host countries typically have three to four years to prepare, Yachting NZ organised the regatta in only seven months - stepping in after original hosts Oman withdrew - and delivered a surplus of around $300,000.

There were also key achievements around social media: Facebook reaching 755,000 people and Twitter 1.2 million impressions. A bespoke event app to provide key information to sailors and coaches was so successful that World Sailing have asked for it to be commercialised for use in other events.



The High Performance Campaign Award celebrates a high performance campaign that has achieved an exceptional outcome for the athlete(s) or team involved.

Congratulations to Peter Burling and Blair Tuke and Yachting New Zealand for their Rio 2016 Olympic Games Campaign

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke achieved remarkable success in their 2016 Olympic campaign. Not only did they sail into gold in the 49er class at Rio, winning by a massive margin, but they have also won every major regatta they raced following the 2012 London Olympics. This level of success is unprecedented.

The Olympic campaign was owned and driven by the sailors, supported and challenged by coach Hamish Willcox and High Performance Sport New Zealand performance planner David Slyfield. Detailed planning underpinned their approach, honed by ongoing assessment and reassessment of all aspects as they searched for constant improvement.


The pair also applied knowledge and skills picked up from sailing non-Olympic boats, such as the

A-Class and Moth, as well as from working with Emirates Team New Zealand. This allowed them to challenge conventional thinking and contributed to shaping their Olympic campaign. Burling and Tuke were also team captains and flag bearers for the New Zealand Olympic team.



The Innovation Excellence Award aims to promote innovation in the sport and recreation sector.

Congratulations to Basketball New Zealand for Glory League

In December 2015, Basketball New Zealand (BBNZ) partnered with Glory League, a world-first player engagement platform  that allows players to relive and share their full game video, highlights and statistics from all of their games. The innovative project has embraced the digital age, social media and gaming movement and applied it to community basketball, giving grassroots players the opportunity to feel like an NBA superstar.  

As well as providing associations with an X-factor product to excite players of all levels across the country, recruit and enhance player retention, Glory League has streamlined administration. Game results are automatically sent to the association's administrator and populated in their database at the end of each game, removing reliance on paper scoresheets.

The Glory League system is enhancing associations' reputations in their local communities, making basketball more appealing to the masses and promoting the game and associations through social media. It also provides another avenue to capture information on players to help BBNZ better understand its communities.



The Sport Maker partnership between Lotto NZ and Sport NZ is an opportunity to thank volunteers for helping to make sport happen in this country.

Congratulations to Amanda Young

Amanda is the coach of the Special Olympics Powerlifting team in Otago. As a former powerlifter, she is passionate and knowledgeable about the sport. Amanda coaches eight powerlifters between the ages of 19 and 30 on Tuesday and Thursday nights at their gym in Dunedin. The sessions involve spending one-on-one time with each lifter to work on their technique as well as their general fitness. She is also the driving force behind the team's fundraising efforts and attends any competitions that her powerlifters are involved in.

Amanda does this all on a voluntary basis and her team and their parents can't thank her enough.  

Through her coaching and support, her team have not only seen the physical benefits of powerlifting such as improved balance, strength and coordination, but they have also become more confident and self-assured - ready to take on any challenge life throws at them!



Congratulations to Kereyn Smith

A long-serving volunteer coach and administrator, Kereyn Smith was appointed to the board of Netball NZ then chaired it from 1994-1999. National experience led to an international role when she became vice-president of the International Federation of Netball Associations.

Her wide-ranging interests and experience were honed as CEO of the New Zealand Academy of Sport South Island, and as General Manager of the Hillary Commission. In 2016 she oversaw the successful Rio Olympics. She is a member of the International Olympic Committee's Sport and Active Society Commission, and its evaluation commission for the 2024 Olympics.

She's also a fierce advocate for building women's profile and participation. On her watch the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) has seen an increase in the number of women in decision-making and leadership roles throughout the sector. This was recognised in November 2015 when the NZOC received the IOC World Trophy for Women in Sport, a first for New Zealand and for any national Olympic committee.

In the same year, she was elected Vice-President of the Commonwealth Games Federation Board.



Congratulations to Carole Hicks, Dave Knowles and Graeme Steel

Having fallen into archery by accident over 40 years ago, Carole Hicks has certainly used those decades to great effect. She has become a prominent figure across many facets of archery for her considerable contribution at national, Oceania and international level. It is a measure of her universal standing that she was one of the first to be honoured at the highest level, being named World Archery Volunteer of the Year in 2015.

Combining participation as an athlete with behind the scenes roles came naturally. Her involvement as a volunteer quickly gathering momentum leading to the end of active participation in 1988, when she had so many admin roles there was no time to practise. Over the years she went on to hold most positions on offer at Archery NZ.

Beginning as a club volunteer, she then became a national judge. That soon branched into international archery when Australia held the world championships in Canberra in 1977, and she volunteered to help run the event. More recently she has had a deep involvement with para-archery at all levels. Carole was elected onto the inaugural committee and more recently became Chairperson of the International Para Archery Committee, the rules being essentially the same as for able-bodied archers.

In 2006 she was awarded a Member of the NZ Order of Merit for services to archery.

Dave Knowles started his working life as a teacher - and never stopped being an educator. He took his love of cricket into coaching at various colleges. A premier league player himself, he was an integral part of his team's attacking philosophy and no slouch in the field.

From teaching he went to Sport North Harbour, the first RST in the Auckland area, as Chief Executive. North Harbour RSOs, including rugby and golf, were formed on his watch, and facilities including an events centre and a stadium were initiated. His departure in 1995 saw him the first person ever to be honoured with the keys of North Shore City.

Dave's next big gig was at Squash NZ, where he is credited with setting the organisation back on its feet and initiating the National Squash Centre, the Squash Dynamics business venture, Express Squash and the Squash Development Officer network. Then it was the Hillary Commission, which he revisited later as Sparc then Sport NZ, filling a number of strategic and relationship management roles.

Dave is an innovator, very successful fundraiser, and someone respected and admired across the sector.

Graeme Steel is the face of clean sport in New Zealand. His longevity in that role reflects his passion for sport in his home country, and through it he has earned a global reputation. He represented New Zealand internationally for 13 years in volleyball before taking up the challenge of building a new organisation from scratch.  

As a former athlete, understands the pressures athletes face in professional sports and the monetary rewards associated with winning. The agency he has lead now enjoys an international reputation for the same common-sense approach with which he has run it. He continues to participate in a variety of sports and is the Patron of Volleyball NZ having previously served on the Board.

His commitment to clean sport, and determination to challenge threats to it, persist. He continues to advise the next generation of leaders in national and international sporting communities about the importance of clean sport and is inspirational amongst other experts in his field. He is the go-to person for media when questions arise.

He is an educator, a realist and an inspiration.  

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