Nominations are now open for the 2021 Waikato Sport & Active Recreation Awards, with an expansion of the new look categories which were rolled out in 2020. 

  • Community Connection Award
  • Sport & Active Recreation Partnership Award
  • Outstanding Active Space Initiative
  • Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion
  • Community Coach
  • Community Unsung Hero
  • Commitment to Youth Engagement

All finalists will be invited to the 2021 Waikato Sport & Active Recreation Awards evening where the winners will be announced, to be held on Thursday 25th November 2021. 



2020 Waikato Sport & Active Recreation Awards

Because of COVID-19, we’ve had to change our traditional sports awards and the way we celebrate sport and active recreation.

This year, we want to celebrate all that’s good about sport and active recreation. Let’s look beyond just winning and celebrate the sporting moments, the partnerships, the outside the box thinkers, and those who do amazing things in your communities to keep us all active.

“Sport Waikato is excited to help the local communities in the Waikato region to celebrate sport and active recreation in a less formal way, and in recognition of the challenges 2020 has presented the sector, but also in response to the opportunities people have created, we have launched the 2020 Waikato Sport & Active Recreation Awards, which is all about celebrating innovation and achievement in a year of adversity.”
The new look awards will replace the current district sports awards and the Brian Perry Waikato Regional Awards for the 2020 year and will celebrate nominations from those who have used this year as an opportunity to think differently about how they keep their community active. 

This year’s categories are:

  • Community Connection Award: Celebrating those individuals or organisations that have made a significant contribution to sport and active recreation due to any initiative they have created and undertaken. This category is open to sport and active recreation organisations or initiatives that have persevered with their sport/recreation offering – e.g. reshaped and offered online, did things differently, created something completely new, supporting the building of resilience over a difficult time (not limited to COVID-19).
  • Sport & Active Recreation Partnership Award: Celebrating partnership and collaboration, where two or more organisations have come together to put on an event or develop an initiative. This award is for councils, community organisations, iwi, education providers or any organisation partnering with others to provide sport and active recreation opportunities to their communities. 
  • Outstanding Active Space Initiative: Celebrating the unique use of spaces, places and facilities in ways that support increased participation in sport and active recreation. The initiative needs to have occurred in (for example) parks and open spaces, community halls and facilities, playgrounds, waterways, gullies or school spaces, and it focuses on a celebration of the ways that sport, active recreation and play spaces can be created anywhere!
  • Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion: Celebrating initiatives that support diversity and inclusion within sport and active recreation. This includes initiatives to increase access, participation, leadership and inclusion among ethnic minority groups, disabled people, women and girls, cultural and religious groups or other marginalised communities.  
  • Service to Sport: Celebrating individual nominees (both paid or volunteer) who have dedicated more than 20 years to sport or active recreation in their community. 

And we have two very special categories – our People’s Choice awards. This is your opportunity to nominate your favourite all round sportsperson or a sporting moment, and have the winner decided by public vote:

  • People’s Choice Sportsperson for any sportsperson who is a current player and resides or plays in the Waikato region, not only for achievement in their chosen sport but also for their commitment to their community, their support of special projects or contribution of voluntary time, humbleness etc. Anyone can nominate a sportsperson, and public voting will open in November once all nominations have been received. 
  • People’s Choice Sporting or Active Recreation Moment is an opportunity to upload a video of a sporting or active recreation moment – those moments that make you proud; not necessarily focused on winning but on having fun, putting in effort, improvement, supporting teammates or the opposition, fair play and enjoyment of the game or activity. Sporting or active recreation moments can include participants, coaches, umpires or supporters – it’s the moment that’s important. 

Nominations open for the 2020 Waikato Sport & Active Recreation Awards on Friday 28 August 2020 and close on Friday 30 October. Public voting for People’s Choice award categories opens on Monday 2 November and closes 30 November. 
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Huntly Gymnastics Club - Operation Engagement


Mercury Bay Athletics Club - Relocation to Mercury Bay Multi-Sport Park


Hamilton City Council - Melville Skate Park Upgrade



The WaterBoy



Nayanakantha Wijesekara



Hamilton Old Boys 13th Grade

And our 10 Service to Sport recipients

Combined recipient video - you can see all separate recipient videos on our Facebook page



A changing space in athletics

Mercury Bay Athletics Club

Throughout the COVID-19 lockdown the club continued to engage with the local community to secure in kind sponsorship and funding support to grow the club's capability and ensure the success of the future seasons  Despite many local businesses facing challenging times, they continued to support the club.  The club is fortunate enough to have an impressive list of local community sponsorship who understand and support what the club is striving to achieve.
Due to unforeseen budget constraints because of COVID-19, previously secured funding to relocate and build required infrastructure was unfortunately withdrawn.  However, this also saw many other local businesses and contractors promise time, energy, equipment, and materials to ensure the relocation could be completed.  This change meant the club had to be adaptable and re-think ways to complete the goal.  The planning and organisation of the relocation occurred via online meeting platforms during the lockdown.

Tell us about your initiative
The Mercury Bay Athletics Club [MBAC] was founded by three local Mums 16 months ago, who saw the need to offer an alternative and extra sporting opportunity to the community, especially for young families and the youth of Whitianga and Mercury Bay.  This continues to be a driving force behind the success of the club.  The MBAC was formally established as an Incorporated Society earlier this year. The Club has embraced the Good Sports Spine Philosophy and works towards building a climate of Development.  MBAC has also embraced the three key philosophies of the ANZ programmes, which include The Environment we create (Good Sports), Maximising Participation and Understanding your participant.  A key part of this is building a community around the Club. The first season in 2019 catered to ages 2 to 9 and based around the Athletics New Zealand [ANZ] Get Set Go and Run Jump Throw programmes. This first year saw the registration closed at 147 athletes, which was heart-warming and overwhelming.
A huge number of registrations meant a relocation to Mercury Bay Sports Park, and the need to construct suitable infrastructure. All in and around the confines of COVID 19, lockdown, a changing economic climate.

What is unique about your approach to community connection in sport and active recreation?
The MBAC fosters a 'learning through purposeful play' approach.  The club utilises modified equipment and games-based activities for the participants to explore and learn about the movement patterns not just the event itself.  Rather than operating in a more traditional approach to athletics where one child is participating and the rest are waiting, the club maximises participation to allow more time to practice, play and learn‚ more time to be active and importantly to have fun!  The club is building confidence first, with the hope of building positive experiences which will encourage being active for life.  This approach is completely child/participant focused.

When families come to the MBAC, they are strongly encouraged to be actively involved with all aspects of the child's learning, especially adults with the under 7 group.  This means, that parents/caregivers/and all adults are learning and connecting with their children through play.  The club also focuses on personal effort and achievement rather than measured outcomes or the fastest, highest, longest, or best.  The club has also shown an ability to learn, adapt and be ready for change when things do not always go to plan.

How has your approach benefitted the community?
This approach has been a fantastic way to bring members of the community, with a range of backgrounds and experiences together for a common goal to bring athletics to Whitianga and Mercury Bay.  The community has wrapped around the club to offer support to continue to see growth.  The growth of the club has also allowed for additional community sporting infrastructure, as well extra the availability of addition sporting resources and equipment -i.e.- new high jump equipment.  The upskilling of parents, volunteers and coaches will also have a flow through effect into other local sporting codes.  There has been a flourishing growth of community coaches with the club having approximately 15 developing coaches.  The MBAC continues to build knowledge and experience of volunteers and coaches by being proactive in seeking out workshops and practical opportunities.  This was shown with a recent collaborative coaching day which saw a variety of specialist facilitators deliver practical workshops.

What are some of the results and/or growth you have seen?
In the first season of operation the MBAC had to close registrations at 147, with ages 2-9.  The first season also saw a Sport Waikato Student Volunteer Award given to a deserving young coach, and there continues to be growth in the junior volunteers. The new season has seen the club open registrations and cater to athletes up to the age of 18.  In the 8-18 category the club has seen growth of members by 55, with this occurring within the first week of registrations for the new season.  The club continues to be a young but hardworking club with high levels of volunteer participation and positive feedback from those involved.  The club is also fortunate to have local mentors, Howard Baker, Peter Booker, Kevin Sharp to share their knowledge and to listen and offer thoughts when the committee is making decision on the direction of the club and the club's Why.

ISO Trick Challenge

Waikato Diocesan School for Girls

Our trick challenged was aimed to connect to the school community and beyond, it gave the girls a sense of achievement.  We used the school social media platforms of Instagram, Facebook, google classrooms and Gmail to send the challenges out to the girls and community. We had 360 girls join google classroom we had over 1700 views on Instagram pages and stories. With the use of social media platforms, we were able to connect to a variety of people and to those who we haven't seen before.

Tell us about your initiative
On the sports council this year our theme is the Olympics, our quote "Igniting the passion to live active and healthy lifestyles" is what most of our decisions and thoughts are based off. This year with COVID-19 and the country going into lockdown on the sports council we wanted to keep all the girls connected and active during these times of uncertainty. We created a trick challenge, this included each member from the sports council performing a trick for the day, of which we would post online. The aim was to try to encourage girls to keep active, motivated and involved during these tough times as well as support our theme.

The post included the information below:
For the next 14 days, we will email out and post to Instagram @waikatodiocesan a daily trick challenge! All you have to do is perform the trick yourself and share it on your Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #activedio and tag @waikatodiocesan. For every trick, you successfully perform and post before 9pm the same day you get a point. At the end of the day, we will select a winner for best execution, best effort or maybe even the best laugh. Daily winners get triple points and get double house points. Collect the most points overall after 14 days and win a spot prize.

What is unique about your approach to community connection in sport and active recreation?
What was unique about our approach was that we were able to connect to a variety of people we had families, ex-teachers, coaches, teachers and we even encouraged some local mps to get involved. It challenged the girls and encouraged them to stay active. We incorporated it into the school day which was also another benefit. And we made the connection to our sports vision for 2020, Igniting the passion to live active and healthy lifestyles

How has your approach benefitted the community?
We were able to connect to the Dio community and beyond. It brought us all closer together as a community. Helping with both mental and physical health. Igniting the passion to live active and healthy lifestyles. Through lockdown, we stayed connected even though we were seen to be far apart, this platform provided girls with the opportunity to challenge each other and stay motivated during the uncertain time of lockdown. 

What are some of the results and/or growth you have seen?
Over this time and after we came back to school, there was a major increase in the girl's involvement in sport. Gym memberships increases and so did the interest in winter sport and overall choosing to live active and healthy lives. As a school we won the Waikato Secondary School Sports - Rise to the school colours challenge. Waikato Diocesan School for Girls have been the first to Rise to the School Colours Challenge and impressive is an understatement! They have shown an awesome collection of videos of the girls keeping active during the lockdown. From football skills to a good ol' stair exercise there is a very broad range of different skill sets being displayed on the video. It is magnificent to see how many students from Waikato Diocesan are keeping active!

This just shows the impact that a small idea can have on a community, and the positive change it encourages. Overall our initiative created positive changes amongst the girls and within the community. 

Operation Engagement

Huntly Gymnastics Club

  1. Use of Te Reo in our day to day recreational classes and in our recreational progress booklets.

  2. We are now offering a far broader set of programs which reach community members of all ages. Including PlayGym 2-4yr, KiwiGym 4-5yrs, GymFun 6+yrs, Ninja Stars 6+. Trampolining 5+, competitive classes and adult fitness classes.

  3. We received a wonderful sponsorship of $250 Beef + Lamb gift pack, which instead of raffling for financial advantage we chose to give a way to one lucky person simply for 'liking and sharing' our page.  We received approximately 80 new followers for this and our winner received a great prize.

  4. After lockdown level 4 concluded, we offered all pre existing and new members a 25% discount on their child's fee's to ensure engagement of tamariki in sport was continued in hard times.

  5. We created Zoom workshops for our competitive gymnasts who would usually train many hours a week.

  6. We created an online 'competition' for our competitive gymnasts whose season was cancelled.

  7. We engaged with our community with 'Our Plan' (Our Covid response plan) which was made public on our website and via email to existing members and allowed public to make submissions to the document if they felt it needed improvement.

  8. We have gone into partnership with Genesis Energy who offer an outstanding volunteer program, so that we can improve health and safety, functionality and the aesthetics of our building. This is an invaluable relationship.

  9. Buddy / junior coaches. We are now taking on volunteer teenage coaches which we will train into paid roles for the future.

Tell us about your initiative

Huntly Gymnastics Club has a purpose built facility, that over many years has been woefully under utilised. With the employment of a new manager and a dedicated and driven committee, in March 2020 Operation Engagement was started to reignite interest in the Huntly Gymnastics Club and engage far more of the Huntly and wider community which already have financial, cultural and geographical barriers to engagement. We wanted to engage more online, create new and exciting programmes, improve and create better class structure for existing classes, offer programmes that appealed to a larger age range and also empathise with and respect our community. Our goal was to increase membership from in the 40's to 100 within a year. 

What is unique about your approach to community connection in sport and active recreation?

Our philosophy has become one of 'Whole Family Fit with Huntly Gymnastics' Instead of targeting 1 child, in 1 family, who may have expressed an interest in gymnastics at it's traditional level, we are now looking to engage ALL family members, male, female, gender diverse, pre-school, middle school, high school and adult. In doing this we create a fitter and healthier community while keeping these easy at one community hub.

How has your approach benefitted the community?

When we began this initiative our membership was at rock bottom, approximately 42. We now have 152. We reached our goal of 100 members within 5 months, and now have a new goal of 200 members by March 2021. This all leads to a happier, healthier and fitter community across all ages and stages. We are hoping to provide more jobs for youth in the future and also hire more staff in years to come. With this many of Huntly's children in sport, it also allows them a safe space to learn and grow as many of our members are significantly disadvantaged. By providing giveaways and also discounts through hard times we have tried to recognise and empathise with the troubles of the community while attempting to keep our tamariki in sport, which we seem so far to have been able to do.

What are some of the results and/or growth you have seen?
  • PlayGym 0 - 21 participants / 1 new class started
  • KiwiGym 9 - 26 participants and 4 on a waitlist / 3 new classes started
  • GymFun 20 - 37 participants and 3 on waitlist / 2 new classes started
  • Ninja Stars 0 - 43 participants / 3 new classes started
  • Trampolining 0 - 15 participants / 2 new classes started
  • Competitive 20 - 30 / 1 new classes started
  • These numbers are higher than our official membership of 152 as many participants do more than one class.
  • We have hired another staff member and now also have 4 buddy/junior coaches who were not with us in March 2020.
  • With the use and respect of Te Reo, we believe, though are unable to prove this has helped engage Maori and Pacific Island participants as we have seen a large influx of members in these demographics.

Tu Tonu

Offering of tailored programs specific to their clients hauora (wellbeing) needs

Level 3 and 4 was a very hard time for them. As a new business they were very wary of the possibility of having to potentially close their doors however they persevered and its paid off. They offered online support for certain classes and have had to make many changes to ensure they continue to provide their services for the community.

Tell us about your initiative
Changing the status quo and understanding that there is no one size fits all for personal well being. Everyone's needs are different so the ability to tailor plans to all needs regardless of age, size, ability they have a 'one stop shop' for every person's needs.

What is unique about your approach to community connection in sport and active recreation?
Tu Tonu utilise their kaupapa of the tapawha where it's not only the physical aspect that they concentrate on but the psychological. Mental health is a big challenge for some but on arrival they the wairua of being in the building makes you feel at home. They understand that not everyday is the same and sometimes people come in with the intention of training but get there and think, neh ill just shoot some hoops instead. It's their ability to cater for the change in mentality for some. Also their ability to cater for all age groups and abilities sets them apart from the rest. They adapt to everyones wellbeing need at the time.

How has your approach benefitted the community?
They have seen more school groups and sports clubs come through and then the students come in individually. They provide a whanau session so you can train together. They are literally a 'one stop shop' for every need. No judgement, just discuss your needs and tailor your program to your individual needs.

What are some of the results and/or growth you have seen?
More engagement from ALL walks of life. Rangatahi finding it hard, Kaumatua wanting to remain mobile, stroke victims rehabilitating, mums after having babies. The list is endless.



Innes Common Parkour & Exercise Area

Hamilton City Council

The aim of the Innes Common parkour and exercise area project was to create a unique, free, outdoor space for all Hamiltonian's to enjoy. The project was completed as part of Hamilton City Council's playground programme and was delivered in partnership with Parkour NZ, Playground People, Fluhler Contracting and brodiehailwood. The completed area features a small play space, along with New Zealand's first dedicated parkour training area, a half basketball court and exercise area featuring the first of its kind equipment in New Zealand. 

How has your project benefitted the community?
The main goal of the Innes Common parkour and exercise area project was to create an all ages and abilities space where the community can spend time recreating for free. A 'play for all' approach was taken in the design of the Innes Common parkour and exercise area. Parkour NZ have told us that users from around the country have visited the park to train. The annual Hamilton parkour event HamJam 2019 utilised the newly created space and it is regularly used for parkour, calisthenics and exercise training classes. A visit on any day shows a wide variety of users enjoying this active space. 

Who are the key organisations that have collaborated on this opportunity/initiative/programme/project?
The Innes Common parkour and exercise area was designed and built in partnership with Parkour NZ, Playground People, Fluhler Contracting, brodiehailwood and Hamilton City Council. A previously donated public BBQ and shelters from Lions Club complements the area. Funding support was also received from Trust Waikato and WEL Energy Trust towards the project.

What was the positive outcome of collaborating with other organisations on this project?
A collaborative Project Team (made up of HCC, Fluhler Contracting and brodie hailwood) enabled a flexible approach to the design process to take place. Parkour NZ representatives led the design process for the parkour area. The parkour team also gave advice on location of seats, walls and paths to maximise the parkour experience outside of the dedicated parkour space. Feedback from the parkour team during the construction was that the Project Team 'really got it' in terms of listening to them and wanting the space to be as usable as possible. Playground People offer ongoing support to Hamilton City Council's playground programme. Working with Playground People to bring new Kompan exercise equipment to New Zealand resulted in the creation of a unique exercise area. Partnering with Fluhler Contracting and brodiehailwood allows for a unique design and build partnership. It ensures value for money and significant savings to be made. 

What positive results did your collaborative project achieve to help better sport and active recreation?
The project has not only achieved the aim of providing a much-needed all ages play space for the community, it has also added to an existing well-loved Hamilton park with visitors from across Hamilton and wider afield using the space. The partnership approach taken on this project allowed a unique, custom space to be developed. Innes Common had an existing ageing play space that had basic play equipment ‚Äì  swings, slide and a carousel. In the current Hamilton City Council 10 Year Plan, renewals funding was allocated to replace the existing play space. New capital funding was also allocated to upgrade the space into an active recreation space. Other park asset renewals also aligned with the project for things like paths and park furniture. The final result is an active space with something for everyone. 

Relocation to Mercury Bay Multi-Sport Park

Mercury Bay Athletics Club

After an overwhelming and successful first season of athletics which saw nearly 150, 2-9-year olds register with the club, a new bigger venue was required.  This success meant the MBAC quickly outgrew their first home at the Mercury Bay Rugby and Sports Club [MBRSC].  The MBRSC were kind enough to act as an umbrella organisation while the athletics club began, and this support was critical.  The decision to move venues and create a purpose build space within the Mercury Bay Multi-Sport Park also created an opportunity to increase the age of participants the club could cater for to up to 18.  This endeavour was a significant undertaking and was only made possible by collaborating with a multitude of organisations.  Within this initiative, an opportunity for further collaboration was created by several athletics specific organisations offering coaching workshops to cater for an older age range of participants up to 18.

How has your project benefitted the community?
This collaborative project has seen an opportunity for the multi-sport park to support the expansion of a local club while using local purpose built facilities.  It has been heart-warming to see the connections made between people.  Whitianga is fortunate enough to have some locals that have had experience and involvement in athletics for some time.  This project has seen the formation of new partnerships and relationships.  A significant benefit to the community is by creating more opportunities for more people.  The relocation has meant another sport offering to the youth of Whitianga where traditionally there is a decline in participation numbers.  As well as providing additional movement opportunities, there has also been more opportunities for parents/family/caregivers to become involved in the local club and to also upskill in the art of coaching. 

Who are the key organisations that have collaborated on this opportunity/initiative/programme/project?
The relocation project required support from a range of organisations and community support.  

These organisations include:

  • Athletics Waikato Bay of Plenty
  • Athletics New Zealand
  • Thames Coromandel District Council
  • Mercury Bay Rugby and Sports Club
  • Sport Waikato 

And a huge amount of local community building industry including Carters Building Supplies, Seascape Building Ltd, Coastline Excavation, RMS Surveyors, Coastal Engineering, Christiansen Cartage, Thomassen Roofing, WilsonCrete and Van de ven Builders.  The MBAC also has an impressive list of local community sponsors who support the clubs vision.

What was the positive outcome of collaborating with other organisations on this project?
With the organisations working together, a wrap around of support was provided.  Meaningful and long-term relationships have been created between the MBAC, organisations, and those involved. Each organisation offered specialist support, guidance, equipment, and hard work, which ensured the goal of creating a purpose-built athletics club.  The collaborative approach to this project meant that the volume of work was shared among the community and those involved, to make the project more manageable.  This also meant the cost has been shared amongst those who had dedicated their time and energy to see this project succeed.  Each organisation involved was able to share specialist knowledge and skills to ensure a high quality of work completed to specified requirements.  By collaborating with a range of organisations, the project was well thought out and designed as well as having the benefit of a range of voices to share ideas.  As this was created in an already existing multi-sport park, athletes, families and the community will benefit for many years to come.  This purpose-built infrastructure would have been unattainable and unaffordable to the club if it were not for the generosity and support of the organisations and community involved.  

What positive results did your collaborative project achieve to help better sport and active recreation?
The creation of the infrastructure to a high specification, is fit for purpose for a range of activities, and has also seen the club expanding to cater for not only  3-9 year olds, but also participants up to 18 and beyond.  This project has seen the weekly club night operate supporting the needs of all involved with the Mercury Bay Athletics Club.  Whether that be the tiny tots and their families learning Fundamental Movement Skills alongside each other, the 7-10-year-old participants refining their athletics movement patterns or the 10-18-year-old participants continuing to engage in athletics.  The expansion of the club and this project has not only increased sports and recreation opportunities for the children and athletes participating, it has also offered for more families to become involved with the club.  The relocation project has also meant a greater range of events and movement opportunities with the club now having a full 400m track, a long jump pit, shot put circles, high jump equipment and also a soon to be completed discus cage.  There is also long term potential to host training camps and high performance athletes.

Para Swimming Development Initiative

Swimming Waikato

Swimming Waikato have been working closely with Swimming New Zealand and United Aquatic Sports to provide opportunities for Para swimming in the Waikato. The initiative began with a conversation around Waikato's great history of Para swimming, but the concern that there was no development initiatives in place to source and support up and coming swimmers. 

With the support of Cameron Leslie, the newly appointed National Para Swimming Development Coordinator, we were able to build on our very first day camps and provide a great calendar of swimming initiatives. The clinics we hosted provided opportunities for young para swimmers to train together and also to provide them with an opportunity to meet our very own para swimming heroes, such as Rebecca Dubber, Jesse Reynolds, and Cameron Leslie. We were also fortunate enough to have the Paralympic NZ - Para Swimming Programme Leader, Graeme Maw attend and present to the swimmers which was a great honour. 

How has your project benefitted the community?
Absolutely it has. We would be confident to say that we have created a community of swimmers that lived and trained in isolation of one another and brought them together as a team. 

Who are the key organisations that have collaborated on this opportunity/initiative/programme/project?
Swimming New Zealand, Swimming Waikato , Paralympics New Zealand and United Aquatic Sports. We also received generous financial support from Parafed Waikato.

What was the positive outcome of collaborating with other organisations on this project?
The outcome was that we were able to grow para swimmer numbers in the Waikato and provide them with the appropriate guidance to local clubs. 

By sourcing those individuals who were keen on swimming, we were able to support their aspirations in the water in the very same way we would with able bodied swimmers. Inclusion was our key priority and we are proud that all Swimming Waikato meets are fully inclusive events.  
What positive results did your collaborative project achieve to help better sport and active recreation?
It allowed a number of the key players at national, regional and club level to get together and pull resources to help aid para swimming. It proved that team-work can really make the dream work! 




Melville Skate Park Upgrade

Hamilton City Council

The project was to upgrade the existing skate park and play space at Melville Park in Hamilton. The aim of the project was to create a unique, exciting space that meets the needs of the park users. 

Where did the initiative take place?
Melville Park, Hamilton

What is unique about your approach to active spaces in sport and active recreation?
The project, funded through Hamilton City Council's 10 Year Plan, combined renewal and capital funding to replace the existing assets at the park while also extending and upgrading the space. The project resulted in an upgrade to the existing skate, basketball and play space. Hamilton City Council teamed up with Fluhler Contracting and Acid NZ to design and build the park. This approach allowed us to work closely with key stakeholders throughout the project. Htown Skate Project was a key partner in the project, working to ensure the voice of the Hamilton skate community was captured. To ensure we got it right, Council took a community led approach to design and engaged with people who use the space. Feedback received through community open days, design workshops and online feedback was used to develop the final design for the skate park and playground area.

How has your approach benefitted the community?
For a number of years, the Council received consistent feedback that Melville skatepark was in poor condition and was in need of major work.  There is also growing demand for improved skate facilities in Hamilton. Melville Park is one Hamilton's most well-known parks, due in large part to its historic skate bowl. The original bowl is much-loved and carries important memories for the skate community. This project saw the bowl refurbished to ensure it is continued to be skated and treasured for many years to come. Working with the community and skate advocacy group Htown Skate Project allowed us to create a unique space that caters to the needs of Hamilton's skate community but also the local park users. Installing a full size basketball court, shade, a public BBQ and additional play equipment has created a space for the community to enjoy.

What are some of the results and/or growth you have seen?
The refreshed park is busier than ever. Given the additional size and increased features and facilities, more users can be there at once and stay longer. The skate park allows for better progression of skate skills from beginner to advanced. The project resulted in a refreshed, multi-use skate and play space for the whole community to enjoy.  The full basketball court is important to the local community. A small multi-use concrete pump track was also installed as part of the project.  Lines of sight into the park have been significantly improved, making it much more visible from the road. Council has received positive feedback on the upgraded park from many users.  

Spa Park Dirt Jumps

Creating sets of dirt jumps for mountain and bmx bikes that can be ridden by beginners to experts and from 2yo upwards.

Where did the initiative take place?
It started way back in 2011 and the idea was to create a dirt jump park on a disused piece of ground the Taupo District Council leased to us. Many truckloads of dirt later we have a unique area for kids and adults of all ages to have a lot of fun and increase their skills dirt jumping.

What is unique about your approach to active spaces in sport and active recreation?
Well it is free to everyone and unique in the way that people can ride to their own abilities. It's not structured like traditional sports. It's a great form of play.

How has your approach benefitted the community?
It's given a lot of people from all over New Zealand a place to come to when they visit Taupo. It's given a lot of boys in particular, a place to come to and ride that may not want to do organised sport. People walking past always stop and watch and talk to the kids about what they are doing.

What are some of the results and/or growth you have seen?
The increase in rider numbers from 2yo to 60 plus riders has blown us all away. There is always huge numbers there on a fine weekend and many more use it during the week. Different groups have sessions there as well, eg: Kids Bike Taupo use it on Tuesdays. One very cool aspect is the way the kids take ownership for maintaining and grooming of the jumps. It never ceases to amaze me the rapid progress and skill progression that happens just because we have this facility in town. We have had 2 previous NZ Dirt Jump Championships held here with the third taking place on 5 Dec 2020. This brings in the best riders NZ has but we also hold a competition for novices and intermediates as well. As usual a big crowd is expected.

The Fat Bottomed Girls & Guys NZ

The FBG's - Fat Bottomed Girls & Guys NZ, don't JUST have fat bottoms. We're an inclusive group for 18+ Women and Men who may find the Gym an intimidating place, but still wish to be active. 

The FBG's are a member/admin run group with 90+ members in Cambridge. Each year we set the Urban Challenge which is the challenge to walk every street in Cambridge, in mapped out Sections, approx 5km per walk/section. in 2020 we have 40 mapped out Sections to walk, over a 7 month period. 

Where did the initiative take place?
All of the streets in Cambridge. And as our town grows, so will our sections as well as our member count. We also have extra walks for people to do, like Lake Te Koutu's ups and downs. The Velodrome walk is also very popular among our members, as there is the cafe on site.

What is unique about your approach to active spaces in sport and active recreation?
The Urban Challenge is unique in itself.  We're a small volunteer Admin run group, using a Facebook Group to connect our 90+ members to walks and events at different times. We make sure there is a group of at least six members for each walk, making sure there is safety and companionship.

Our Urban Challenge started just 2 weeks before the Covid lockdown started. So our small admin team very quickly decided we needed to keep morale up and spirits high, especially with our members who live alone.

We came up with the "isolation challenge", to encourage everyone to keep moving and to keep some of the competition that many of them thrive. We certainly didn't limit it to walking, we had members running and cycling as well as walking the empty streets. The morning and evening video chats became daily routine as well. The activity may be the main thing, but the friendships that have evolved from our group mean so much.

How has your approach benefitted the community?
We have been able to motivate people to get active that didn't feel comfortable in doing so before. Most of the FBG's are people that are newer to the area, so it's a wonderful way to make friends, get to know their new home town, as well as getting active.

Many of the members set personal goals, whether that be to lose weight, walk 1000kms or make friends. All of which have been achieved or very close to. The Urban Challenge - we have a ready-made goal for people, as well as encouraging them to make their own personal goals. We live in a beautiful, ever evolving town that is the perfect place to walk, exercise and explore. And a great place to meet new friends.

When the FBG's are out walking, there's a big group of purple shirts. It's hard to miss us, so we like to use that in helping with things like Daffodil Day, Pink Ribbon and various charity walks. The FBG's have also enjoyed getting out and collecting for causes eg. Pink Ribbon & Daffodil Day or hosting Pink Ribbon Breakfasts.

This also shows many people of different ages and sizes, out getting active and having fun. 
Most of our members are newer to Cambridge, so as well as motivating people to get active, they get out and make friends and explore the area.

What are some of the results and/or growth you have seen?
The growth of the group alone, has been amazing. Each year more and more amazing people join, making personal goals and achieving the goal of walking each street. 
The growth within the Members has been wonderful to watch too, seeing people reach weight goals or being able to walk up a big hill with ease. They motivate themselves and each other.

The growth of the group since 2017 has doubled, so the friendships, motivation and confidence among members has too. 



Danny Hallen - Waikato Diving

Danny has worked with This is ME promoting girls in sports offering free dive lessons, with exciting numbers taking up the offer. He has made contact with local immigration services offering free dive lessons to new immigrants who would likely never have had the chance to have a go. He offers his time free of charge so that the club does not financially suffer. It‚Äôs not only our divers he wants to see grow.......last year saw Danny arrange several of our parents and older divers to sit their NZ Dive Judge exams. We are so proud to say that Hamilton now has several NZ Level 1 accredited judges including Danny himself. 

What is unique about your approach to diversity and inclusion in sport and active recreation?
Danny is our Club Chairman, Coach, Fundraiser, Family Contact...... and just an all-round great guy. Danny’s charismatic personality sees him welcoming everyone with open arms and is seen at every dive session encouraging divers young and old. He is always mingling with parents and spectators alike, grabbing anyone that is just watching by encouraging them to give diving a go. Danny tirelessly spends hours promoting diving where-ever he can. He approaches schools, clubs, committees..... any opportunity he is always there promoting the virtues of diving.

Danny has formed a great relationship with the Hamilton Bombers Club where we host them every Friday night. This club has sadly not been able to use the dive pool previously without the supervision that Danny offers. This is a large group of adult men and women that would never have had the chance to show off their amazing bombing skills in a safe environment. It has been exciting to see this group grow and watch the children in the club spending time with their families imitating their whanau on the lower diving boards.

How has your approach benefitted the community?
In the past 3 years Danny has grown the club from just 3 competitive divers to reach nearly 100 just before Covid arrived. This is an amazing testament to his unwavering dedication to Waikato Diving. As a young club Danny has spent his own time both at Auckland and Wellington dive clubs looking at their facilities and structures to build our club to what it is today. This has allowed our divers to benefit from having the same facilities that are offered in the larger centres. He has recently secured and unused room at Waterworld and converted it into a dry land training room for the divers, so they can train comfortably and safely. Danny saw an opportunity to utilise this space not only for his divers but also invited Hamilton Aquatics swim team to also benefit from his hard work and share the room.

What are some of the results and/or impact you have seen?
Through Danny's commitment to our divers, Diving Waikato recently had 5 of its divers being selected to the NZ training team (pre-Covid while). Danny has not only provided top notch facilities for our Elite divers he is also very conscious of our up and coming divers and divers that just want to have a go. He has created new groups and goals that cater for everyone's abilities children and adults alike. While this means so much for work for Danny he always embraces it with enthusiasm and commitment.

Danny himself is not a diver, he has been seen making bets with our younger divers to jump in himself if they are apprehensive about a new dive. This has created great entertainment for the divers, parents and spectators. Danny has arranged 'train the parents' nights, for our younger divers. This has been a wonderful opportunity for our divers to train their parents and teach them what they have learnt. This has been an eye opener for many parents realising it is not as easy as their children make it look. Another brainstorm from Danny to have create an opportunity to get more people into the dive pool.

What we love about Danny is his inclusion of all, his selflessness approach to giving his time freely to give everyone and anyone the opportunity to at least try diving. Looking at the categories for the nominations for this year's awards, it was truly difficult to fit Danny into just one as we think he could take them all out!

Girl Code

The Peak Recreation Centre

Girl Code is a pilot program run by The Peak Rec Centre in partnership with Rototuna High Schools. It is all about encouraging junior girls (11-14) who are inactive to be involved with physical activity and recreation. The girls involved in Girl Code are often shy and lack confidence to get involved in sport, so we provide a safe space where they can learn new skills, build confidence and move their bodies in enjoyable ways. We want the girls to feel included in sport and recreation and understand it is something everyone can participate in. We help them feel included in sport and active recreation by running 2 to 3 activities a week for them, where they learn a new way to be active, in a safe, non-judgemental environment. Sometimes the activities are traditional sports such as volleyball and basketball, and other times we get creative and do things like dancing and relays. We try and do new activities every week so the girls get the chance to try as many new things as possible and hopefully find something they really enjoy. 

What is unique about your approach to diversity and inclusion in sport and active recreation?
Our program is student led which means the girls help structure the program and activities. We listen to their stories and create ways for them to be involved in sport and active recreation that suit them. This student led approach is very unique but we find it incredibly beneficial as it means the girls have their voices heard. They are currently not being included in sport and active recreation, so having a student led program means we can listen to them and find out how we can make sure they are included now and in the future. We also give the senior students the opportunity to be involved and run some of the activities. This gives senior students the chance to learn leadership skills and make a difference in the lives of the young girls involved in Girl Code. 

How has your approach benefitted the community?
Girl Code has benefited the community by offering a safe space for young girls to be active. Girl Code allows girls to build confidence, learn new skills and we also educate them on healthy lifestyles. The long term benefit of Girl Code on the girls involved is they will become healthier, more confident young women who aren't afraid to be involved in sport and active recreation. Not only are they learning how to play traditional sports but we are also helping them be active in creative ways so they can discover how they enjoy being active. Girl Code aims to be involved in more Waikato schools in the future so more young women can get involved in sport and active recreation through Girl Code. 

What are some of the results and/or impact you have seen?
We have already seen some amazing results. The girls involved in Girl Code are trying new things every single week and always learning new skills. Girls who were too shy and lacked confidence in the first few weeks are now super excited to try completely new activities way out of their comfort zone. Girls are finding ways to be active that they enjoy and are learning that being active is more than going for a run or lifting weights. Some of the biggest impacts of Girl Code on the girls are new friendships, more active lifestyles as they are participating in activities 2+ times a week, more confidence and a better understanding on what 'being active' means. 

Kirsty Lupeamanu

Kirsty is an amazing asset to the community. She has always been accepting and encouraging of those who don't fit snuggly into societies box. Kirsty has always made extra effort to ensure everyone is included no matter their level of fitness or athletic ability..... in my case the lack of ability. Her natural ability to put people at ease and lift them up so they catch a glimpse of what they can accomplish.... then work together to set and achieve goals.  The programs and classes Kirsty runs within the community and on-line are not restricted or given lables allowing a community of learning and support across all gender, ethnicities and beliefs. A perfect example that size and age do not matter. Kirsty has always been supportive in the community she makes herself a part of. This speaks volumes about the type of person she is. Always involves with kids and adults alike, the crazy parent out there getting everyone involved in whatever is going on....EVERYONE!

What is unique about your approach to diversity and inclusion in sport and active recreation?
Kirsty takes on a wide diversity of roles  to ensure everyones needs are met and catered for.  As a personal trainer, group workouts, classes or Jump Jam with kids at school, she is readily able to see the need and adapt programs to get everyone up and out there in an active fun environment. 

How has your approach benefitted the community?
Kirsty has initiated a support network within the community that allows those over 100kg to feel comfortable, supported at a nominal cost that is returned to the community. It may have started as just a head nod of acknowledgement but friendships have grown, self-worth is being cultivated and a more positive community is being established.

What are some of the results and/or impact you have seen?
I have seen friendships strengthened by encouragement, families generally being more physically active and those on the edges given the chance to be involved and feel included. No matter their circumstances. Kirsty ROCKS!! I am honoured to be her friend.... and have her kick my butt!!

The WaterBoy

The WaterBoy's mission is breaking down barriers for kiwis to play sport.
At its core The WaterBoy is driven by increasing diversity and inclusion. 

There numerous ways The WaterBoy has demonstrated this, but due to space restrictions, here are 2 examples:

  1. The first is through The WaterBoy's routine operations of pairing disadvantaged youth with local sponsors to enable them into sport. The main criteria for our selection process for our recipients is that they need to have a barrier for getting into sport. This barrier can be anything from financial, to social, to mental, to anything. A lot of our recipients come from lower-socioeconomic backgrounds and minority groups who would otherwise not be playing sport and we enable them into a sport of their choosing. 

  2. A second demonstration of how The WaterBoy increases diversity and inclusion in sport is through another  initiative we run called Everybody's Game. This initiative works to address homophobia in sport. We present this initiative to High School assemblies and inform them how homophobic language and behaviour has detrimental effects on LGBTQ+ individuals. This initiative works to break down this barrier to allow more inclusion and diversity of LGBTQ+ individuals on the sports fields.

What is unique about your approach to diversity and inclusion in sport and active recreation?
​What is unique in our approach is that we do not limit the criteria of who we take on as a recipient for The WaterBoy. The only criteria they have to meet is that they need to have a barrier - something inhibiting them from participating. This barrier can be ANYTHING. We do not discriminate against anything, meaning that our influence of supporting inclusion and diversity is not limited to only increasing one kind of inclusion or one kind of diversity.

The way in which our Everybody's Game initiative is unique is that at present there is no one else addressing the issue of homophobia in sport. It is unique in the way that no one else is doing it. It is unique as it is allowing LGBTQ+ individuals to feel comfortable being themselves on the sports field. It is assisting to educate New Zealand youth and create diversity and inclusion by creating safety and a welcoming space for LGBTQ+ individuals.

How has your approach benefitted the community?
Our approach has benefited the community by opening the door to allow anyone who has the desire and commitment to play sport but is experiencing a barrier, to break that barrier down, play that sport and get involved! Our approach has meant that many more people from diverse backgrounds have been able to participate in opportunities they may have never been able to otherwise.

Due to the nature of our work and the people we help, a lot of our recipients come from poverty and broken families. It has meant that many individuals who have been walking a certain path have been able to change direction as they are introduced to something in their life that provides them with all the benefits and opportunities that sport does.

We believe our approach has been lowering the stigma and attitude of homophobia in the sports fields, allowing more diverse people to feel comfortable and accepted so they can participate. 

We believe our approach has meant that more people are showing up on the sport fields. We believe that these benefits are experienced more off the sport field as this inclusion and diversity overflows into the greater community.

What are some of the results and/or impact you have seen?
Some of the results are:

  • We have helped over 350 disadvantaged youth to get into a sport directly through The WaterBoy. and Indirectly over 3000.
  • We have had over 3000 people witnessing our Everybody's Game presentations in person and over 80000 witnessing via online.
  • 15 youth approach or message us after an Everybody's Game presentation either telling us about their barriers of sexuality on the sports field, seeking support or even coming out.



Gina McCarthy



Gina is a role model for swimming in the Waikato with successes both in and out of the pool.  
She was recently awarded Emerging Swimming of the Year for the Aquaknights region in April 2020.  

At the recent New Zealand Short Course Championships in October 2020 she achieved:

  • 7 Golds medals for the 17-18 year age group
  • 2 Golds, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze medal for the Open Age group.

At the recent New Zealand Secondary School meet in October 2020 she achieved:

  • 5 Golds, 5 Silvers and 1 Bronze medal

Gina regularly volunteers her time as a technical official on pool deck, giving back to the sport she is so passionate about.  She also assists Swimming Waikato's Junior Pathway programme, encouraging and supporting Waikato's up and coming juniors, whilst role modelling the values and behaviours Swimming Waikato aspires its swimmers to have.                                                                      

Kanyon Paul

Rugby League 

She has been an outstanding example to our up coming tamariki, by the way she is humble to everything she gets involved in. After going through the loss of her greatest role model/idol in the sport of rugby league, her grandfather, she chose wisely to pursue what he wanted to to do well in, play league and play with a passion. 

Kuwyn Price



Selected for the...

  • NZ Blackcaps Cricket 14th man 2020 T20 vs India  
  • NZ Maori SS Cricket 2019, 2020 
  • NZ Maori U19 Cricket 2020 Squad
  • ND U17 2019
  • St Paul's Collegiate 1st XI 2018-2020

Nayanakantha Wijesekara



Nomination 1:
Nayan is a great all-round sportsperson, and contributes to a positive culture in badminton and the wider community. Nayan recently relocated to Hamilton and is currently pursuing a Master's degree at the University of Waikato this year. Nayan has invested the time to engage with Waikato Badminton to be part of the badminton community as well as contribute to the sport pathways. Nayan undertook professional development to attain a coaching qualification and currently partakes in helping Waikato Badminton, Clubs and Schools deliver badminton programs to children. He also volunteers his time with the Salvation Army on a weekly basis. 

After taking considerable time off badminton for education and a professional career in ICT overseas, Nayan eased his way back into the sport post lockdown by participating in Waikato Badminton's senior squad training sessions twice per week. He was rusty but displayed all qualities we expected of any sportsperson including fair play, having courage, being a positive team player, being respectful to all players and officials whilst also winning with pride. Nayan has since participated in local tournaments and exceeded our expectations by winning the 2020 Waikato Badminton Championships whilst beating other established performance-level players (A grade) along the way.

Nomination 2:
Nayan's an international student at the University of Waikato pursuing his master's in digital business who moved to New Zealand in February 2020 and had to go through an unexpected series of events due to the pandemic situation. However, he has not given up his career as a student as well as a sportsman. He joined Waikato Badminton Association in June and started his badminton career again in Hamilton. He's a member of Waikato Senior Reps as well. Also, Nayan represented the University of Waikato Badminton Team for the National Tertiary Badminton Championship held in September. His biggest achievement so far is winning both A & B categories in Craigs Investment Partners Waikato Badminton (ABCD) Championships beating the best players in the Waikato region. He got the opportunity to complete his ShuttleTime Badminton Coaching certification at WBA and now conducting coaching sessions in St. Peter's Private School, Horsham Downs Badminton Club, and the Chinese Learning Centre. Apart from his studies and badminton, he also volunteers at the Salvation Army as a Retail Assistant, and the ROC as a Graphic Designer. The reason for nominating Nayan is because he's not given up his passion for the sport of Badminton even though he's away from his homeland and trying his best to balance his studies, sports, and volunteering at the same time.

Sophie Hodges



Sophie has had a fantastic year on and off the squash court. Her squash achievements this year are:

* Member SquashNZ World Junior Girls Squad
* Selected in the NZ Team to compete in the WSF World Junior Championships that had been scheduled to take place in July 2020 on the Gold Coast.
* NZ Squash most improved player 2020
* Top junior female in NZ on points ranking
* Selected to play in the Executive Travel New Zealand junior Trans-Tasman Squash Test Series that had been scheduled for April 2020
* Achieved Squash Grading of A1 28th July 2020 
* Winner - Waikato Junior Open 
* Winner - North Island Junior Age Groups U17 Girls
* Winner - National Champion U17 Girls
* Member of the National Champion Waikato Inter-District Junior Team
* Ranked 3rd Female Squash player in Waikato and 11th in NZ at 15yrs Old

Along with everything she has achieved, Sophie is an extremely humble person, always playing hard but fair. She is a great sporting role model to many of our up and coming juniors, Sophie is always willing to hit on court with younger or lower graded players, she has a positive attitude towards her sport and can be often seen smiling whilst in the midst of a intense game. 

Sophie is supportive of her home club and region with a commitment of helping when and were possible, and she can often be seen volunteering her time with tasks such as early marking, writing up the whiteboard / games and any other general jobs that need doing, certainly always willing to help out.

Whilst Squash is predominantly known and played as an individual sport, Sophie is a fantastic addition to any team, with not only her playing ability but also her supportive and friendly nature. Sophie is extremely respected and well liked by her peers.  



For the love of the game


This moment was taken of my son and his teammate, not  for celebrating a goal, but just celebrating in the moment.

Hamilton Old Boys 13th Grade 2020


This team is a team that has gelled right from the get go. They are a bunch of boys that have each others backs on and off the field. The team's diversity in cultures has brought them together and made them the team they are today. With the support of amazing coaches and families these kids were unbeaten during the 2020 season having 385 points for and 63 points against. They are a humble bunch of kids and made us laugh every time. We are super proud of their achievements this season. To take out the overall 13th grade and be the 1st Hamilton old boys team to do so and secure the Aaron Hopa Memorial trophy wow what a season to finish club rugby.

Remote Coaching & Development


Tracey Hallam, Waikato Badminton's Coaching & Development Manager has offered amazing support and modernised learning experiences to a large number of participants this year. At each Covid-19 Alert Level, Tracey has skilfully utilised the complexities of technology to offer enjoyable coaching and training sessions over Zoom. These remote sessions were launched within the first week of lockdown, activating over 60 participants each week across our Development, Junior Representative, Junior Elite, Performance, and Senior Representative Squads. The sessions required minimal space, were primarily active and fun movements involving music, so participants were able to perform footwork and racket movements to the music with Tracey facilitating and coaching throughout each hour-long session. Tracey is technology-shy at most times but courageously stepped out of this shell to deliver live-streamed sessions, and even recorded additional instructional videos to Waikato Badminton's YouTube channel to share during Alert Level 3. Not only did participants and other coaches appreciate her leadership during Alert Levels 3 and 4, the badminton community was engaged and enjoyed following the progress and development of our participants as a result of this initiative. (Feel free to edit the attached footage of her coaching and endearing bloopers)

Ruffnex Generation C Grade 2020 Winners


Our team played in the open C grade netball at Minogue Park every Saturday.

We've just had our final game and won going undefeated in our pool and we did a Tiktok to celebrate..

Last year we played in D grade and took that out so you can guarantee next year we will be testing the waters in B grade .

This video features our players, coach and manager.
We would practise this for 5 or 10 mins just to get warm before actually started training.

Hope you enjoy it

Star Jump Challenge with Jessie Smith Athlete


A challenge you can do anywhere anytime.  Staying active during lock down was so important. This challenge involved a series of different star jumps, these were normal, double, full and Mr T Star Jumps.



Allan Murray

Rugby, Huntly

Allan Murray has been involved with HuntlyCOBRFC for 20+ Years in different roles within the Committee & A Sponsor Allan Murray Farm Services for Many Years. Supports the Players on Saturday's home & away whenever Possible, Good Club Man!

List the notable achievements the nominee has supported
Loyal Sponsor of the Club, Will be Present with a Blazer from the Club @ Prizegiving on the 10th October (Surprise for Him) however well deserved for His time & efforts towards Rugby in Huntly!

Describe the skills the nominee has used
Just A Good Club Man you enjoy having a Beer with within the Club, with Awesome People Person.

Clyde Sutton

Aikido, Hamilton

Sensei Clyde Sutton founded an aikido club in 1987 under Sensei Johannes Buiter.  After Sensei Buiter's retirement in 1997 the club became  independent, took the name Aikido Musubi Ryu and was lead by Sensei Clyde.  

List the notable achievements the nominee has supported
Clyde taught at Fraser High School, is an author and has been planting native and heirloom trees on his farm in Raglan area.  He regularly attends Aikido camps in Auckland and Australia as an instructor where he shows the relationship between current Aikido and the historic practices.

Describe the skills the nominee has used
Clyde has lead the club for over 20 years, his patience and kindness has allowed the shy to blossom, he has personalised programmes to suit each individual, allowing individuals to develop their confidence, capability and awareness.  He mixes the martial with the meditation, working towards inner calm even under pressure.

Dean Tereu

Football, Tokoroa

After a long and decorated playing career Dean turned his passion and energy into coaching and providing opportunities to the young male and females of Tokoroa.  He has dedicated 30 years of service to the football community in Tokoroa firstly as a player with over 20 years of representation for the Tokoroa Men's team then subsequently as a coach of children of all ages from primary through to secondary school.  He has been the teacher in charge of both girls and boys football at Tokoroa High School for 24 years as well as the senior men's coach for a further 15 years for and women's coach for Tokoroa AFC for 2 years.  He has served on the club committee and was a key organisor of junior football, summer social league football as well as helping introduce futsal to the football community .  He has also worked with the CIFA to promote several Tokoroa players into national team rep honours.  Dean has served endlessly giving up hundreds and hundreds of hours of his time as well as thousands of his own money to provide football opportunities to a community where fees and transport can be a barrier.

List the notable achievements the nominee has supported
Tokoroa AFC Senior Men's player 1990-2012, 4x Player of the Year
Cook Island International 1998-2002
Coach Tokoroa AFC Men's and Women's
Junior Football Organiser
Tokoroa High School Boys and Girls
Tokoroa High School Futsal
Coach Aitutaki Womens
Coach Aitutaki Under 16 Girls
Organised Tokoroa High School Girls tour of Cook islands

Describe the skills the nominee has used
Dean has a passion for football that has seen him transition from the playing field into the coaching arena in which he has for 30 years been providing service to the community of Tokoroa.  His skills as a teacher have allowed him to work well with youth where he has created a real fun atmosphere for the kids involved in the various teams he works with.  His football contacts have also established a link with the Cook Islands Football association which has benefitted many in Tokoroa with a large Cook island population.  He has made sure that money never stops young people playing the sport and has organised numerous fundraisers to ensure his kids play for free.  He has the organisational skills and technical know how to ensure that players of all ages and ability improve their game but more importantly have fun doing so.

Joan Rawnsley

Athletics, Paeroa

Joan has been a committee member with firstly Kerepehi and then Paeroa Amateur Athletic Club for 38 years. She has been a Delegate, Secretary., Chairperson WaikatoBOP Childrens, Treasurer NZCAA, Team Manager, Selector Pacific School Games, Waikato Interprovincial teams G12 to G18, Official at Colgate Games, Waikato Childrens Ribbon Days, Waikato Childrens Championships

List the notable achievements the nominee has supported
Joan has been a committee member with firstly Kerepehi and then Paeroa Amateur Athletic Club for 38 years. She has been a Delegate to WaikatoBOP Childrens Committee meetings 33 years, WaiBOP Interprovincial teams G12-G18 team manager 25years, Held positions of Chair, Secretary WaiBOP Childrens, Delegate to NZCAA 1998 to 2008 and then Treasurer for 10 years, Team Manager for NZ Childrens to Pacific School Games 2005, 2008, 2017, Team selector for Pacific School Games, Official at Colgate games NI 1998-2918, SI for 10 years mainly as track referee, Life Member Paeroa AAC 2006,Life Member WaiBOP 2014, Life Member NZ Childrens 2014 , Merit Award Athletics NZ 2015.

Describe the skills the nominee has used
Communication, negotiating, accounting, managing, timeliness, networking, administration skills, leadership.

Loloma Foster

Badminton, Hamilton

Loloma has been employed by Waikato Badminton Association for over 22 years as a part-time office manager and financial administrator. Her regular duties include invoice processing, reconciling and reporting of the Association's accounts across all stadium hire, events, training, school programs and various other activities. In addition, she manages payroll and tax compliance, processes membership requests, compiles grant applications along with support documentation. She also assists staff with other administration duties as well as the general public with their enquiries. Loloma has also held a secretarial role with Waikato Badminton Association and Eastlink Badminton Society during this 22 year period, ensuring meeting documents and minutes are always recorded accurately and ready in a timely manner. 

List the notable achievements the nominee has supported

  • Loloma builds great relationships with Waikato Badminton affiliated Clubs and their members as a key person sharing important information and recording necessary data for clubs.
  • Loloma has been a stalwart in helping Waikato Badminton Association secure funding over the years and continues to maintain a strong relationship with funders by ensuring the organisation's accountability is in good shape and submitted on time.
  • Loloma has stepped outside her comfort zone many times to lead strategic changes for the Association, including implementation of new accounting software (ie. when MYOB was introduced to Waikato Badminton). She is again having to support the transformation of the organisation's accounting systems again as it moves to implement Xero in the new financial year. 
Describe the skills the nominee has used
  • Loloma operates at a high pace and manages to apply a great attention to detail across a rapidly growing organisation. Loloma also has a love of learning and has demonstrated an ability to execute new processes and run new programs. She is a great advocate for exploring new and improved ways to get things done.
  • Her outstanding financial planning and management skills to control funds and ensuring that the Association does not over-commit has made a huge difference in the sustainable growth of our organisation. 
  • She is also brave and willing to speak her mind if something is not right, ask why, empathise and facilitate things to keep moving in a positive direction when others are faced with challenging situations.
  • Loloma is simply modest and would not enjoy any attention or recognition for her outstanding contribution to the Association but of course our organisation thinks otherwise!

Mandy Howells

Pony Club, Te Kauwhata

Mandy is the District Commissioner for Te Kauwhata District Pony Clubs. Mandy has been in this role for many years and has been part of the Pony club groups for 30 years or more. She supports the riding members and oversee the 3 clubs in the area. She also helps organise club events which is for all the riders. She also acts as the voice of our District at area meetings.

List the notable achievements the nominee has supported
Mandy has been a leader for our District and has helped many of our riders compete nationally. She has helped myself attend Dressage Championships, helped a rider attend Horse of the year and help our area win overall champions. 

Describe the skills the nominee has used
She has used her connections in the area to help the riders. She has provided us with opportunities to visit new equestrian vet centres, she brought farriers to pony club rallies etc... She has also helped club find funding for equipment and used her local connections to help clubs with events. Her daughter is an international course designer which Mandy has used her to help with many pony club show jumping events. Mandy is also a jump judge herself and always lends a hand to her community. 

Maria Te Kanawa

Netball, Tokoroa

Maria has been with the Tokoroa Netball Centre for well over 20 years as a Player, Club/Representative Coach, Umpire, Umpire Convenor, President, Secretary, Treasurer and Committee member.  She is currently our Treasurer and has held this position for many years. Maria has always played a huge role in the development of our Umpires, in particular our young future umpires. She facilitates the umpiring classes and inspires our members to work towards furthering themselves to achieve their umpiring credentials.  Her experiences as a netball player has also been a huge asset in her numerous coaching roles with Club Netball, Secondary School and Tokoroa representative teams.  Maria has kept our netball centre intact ensuring that we are well taken care of in all areas.  Maintaining our well being with the health and safety of the operational side of our business. Ensuring that the governance side is in order, policies and procedures updated and adhered to.  Maria is always seeking for improvement to better ourselves as a centre in promoting our game. Making certain we are up to date with the netball rules, coaching courses available, and connections with our Zone administrators.  We are grateful for her service to our Tokoroa Netball Centre.

List the notable achievements the nominee has supported
Maria has been with the Tokoroa Netball Centre for well over 20 years as a Player, Club/Representative Coach, Umpire, Umpire Convenor, President, Secretary, Treasurer and Committee member.  She is currently our Treasurer and has held this position for many years. Maria has always played a huge role in the development of our Umpires, in particular our young future umpires. She facilitates the umpiring classes and inspires our members to work towards furthering themselves to achieve their umpiring credentials.  Her experiences as a netball player has also been a huge asset in her numerous coaching roles with Club Netball, Secondary School and Tokoroa representative teams.  Maria has kept our netball centre intact ensuring that we are well taken care of in all areas.  Maintaining our well being with the health and safety of the operational side of our business. Ensuring that the governance side is in order, policies and procedures updated and adhered to.  Maria is always seeking for improvement to better ourselves as a centre in promoting our game. Making certain we are up to date with the netball rules, coaching courses available, and connections with our Zone administrators.  We are grateful for her service to our Tokoroa Netball Centre.

Describe the skills the nominee has used
Maria brings her kete of skills into our Netball Centre with her dedication, commitment, time, sport, managerial experience, knowledge, and more so the aroha of our game.  Her open-door approach along with her kind and generous mannerism is so warm and inviting that people are easily allured to her. Maria is out going with a good sense of humour, she works tirelessly, is fair and pleasant. 

Maria is netball passionate; she is a phenomenal player; she devotes her time to the development of our umpiring program. Maria also encourages our coaches to furthering themselves in achieving their coaching credits. Maria supports and influences our newly modified NZ Junior netball programme ‚Äì futureFERNS.  She makes certain to organise our draw prepared, year in and out with plenty of time for both our senior and junior competition. Our finances are always kept in line and without fail keeps us regularly updated. 

Maria's involvement throughout the years has certainly grown with her exceptional leadership roles, not only with our Netball whanau but all the more within our community. Maria continues to serve us, and we are grateful for her service to Netball and our community.

Rodger & Colleen Smith

Golf, Onewhero

A formidable duo who have volunteered and contributed to our club and the enjoyment of golf for locals and visitors alike for many many years.

Colleen is a past Woman's Club Captain and Woman's President which demonstrates her dedication to golf and the ongoing support of our game to the community of golfers and sports people alike.

Rodger is Colleens partner in crime. Rodger is passionate about golf and supports the enjoyment of a walk on the course for current and future sports people.

List the notable achievements the nominee has supported
Colleen is active in our social committee and has raised a large amount of money with her dedication to running events with and for the club.
Colleen is active as a rules official and has dedicated many hours supporting matches all over the Auckland region as well as representing our club in the Woman's Pennants. These are just a few of Colleen's achievements towards the ongoing support of our game.
Rodger has enabled the course to preserve our eels and developed an on course sanctuary for them. It is common to see players stop and offer some food to the eels. Recently Roger was instrumental in clearing a path for our club and sport of golf to continue to support all members and visitors in the game of golf by facilitating a huge change in direction with the then current management to allow our clubs continued financial survival. With Rogers passion and dedication we were able to dramatically reduce our cost structure of ongoing grounds maintenance.

Describe the skills the nominee has used
Roger is instrumental in mapping our systems and making improvements ongoing. Recently Roger organised and managed volunteers to plant native trees for the future of our course. The course is well presented and supports enjoyment for all golfers and other sports people.
Colleen is always offering her support and volunteer's for many activities. Recently Colleen made a huge impact with setting up a theme and decorating our club for our 90th celebration and I was taken back by her very unselfish ways.
These are just a few of their achievements and are both deserving of this recognition. They are both well respected within our community.
They are advocates of our game, very passionate and continue to contribute so much to sports through their unselfish contributions.

Sandra Carter

Multiple Sports, Hamilton

Sandra is very passionate about sports for young people. She teaches full time at Maeroa Intermediate in our sports class. 
She has also coached and organised netball at our school for at least 20 years. She spends every Saturday in the winter at netball. This year due to COVID she spent Saturday and Sunday there. She gives up her own time to coach teams at our school before school, after school, during the school breaks. She has also contributed to netball by coaching teams from Hamilton Girls' High, Development teams for Hamilton netball and a couple of years ago she managed Waikato Magic.  
In the summertime she organises and coaches a softball team at our school. So essentially every Saturday of the year during term time she is taking sport for our students.  She organises for Waikato netballers to come into our school and spend time with our students coaching them. Our students love this as these are the women they admire. Our netball team has decorated the Magic changing room a couple of times with Sandra leading the decorating. She takes our girls to Magic games so they can see they heroes in action. 
Some weekends when she has time, Sandra will go and watch our students at their rugby games so the students know that she is interested in what they are doing and then she will discuss with them on Monday what she saw  and how well the students are doing. Her passion is for children being involved in sport as she sees the real life benefits it has for them. 
- She has been a mentor for Montessa Tairakena who is now been signed into the NZ Sevens Squad. She has supported Montessa all the way through and even funded some of Montessa's sport. 

List the notable achievements the nominee has supported
- Manager of Magic
- Coaching Hamilton Netball age group teams
- Coach of Maeroa 7A and 8A netball teams for at least 20 years
- Coach of school softball teams for at least 10 years
- Supporting Girls' Basketball teams at Maeroa

Describe the skills the nominee has used
- Sandra's passion and belief in how sport can teach children so many life skills.
- She has extensive knowledge about netball coaching as she has participated in high level coaching clinics - our students are so fortunate to be able to work with her.
- Her ability to get the best out of students/people in the sporting field.
- Her ability to spot potential and nurture it in our students.
- Her willingness to help all students. When kids can't afford to participate she will without hesitation dip into her own pocket and pay for them.

For more information, contact us on 07 858 5388 or email

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