Pam Wright was named Sportsperson of the Year at Sport Waikato’s 2018 Ingham’s Matamata Piako District Sports Awards on Tuesday night for an outstanding year in golf – celebrating her proudest achievement being the runner up in the New Zealand Golf Home Links Cup. This was in addition to representing Waikato and winning a gold medal at the Masters Interprovincial Championship.
The Morrinsville Junior Football Club was named Club of the Year with their well organised and energetic committee increasing player numbers and doubling committee members - the club now has a great community feel.
Matamata Piako District Coordinator Lou Beer was very pleased with the high calibre of nominations, finalists and winners this year.
“We have some really amazing talent in the Matamata Piako district, and it’s evident that the determination from all our sportspeople is really paying off. And of course those sportspeople could not do what they do without the fantastic support of the many talented coaches, administrators, officials and supporters,” Beer said.
Eligible winners are now considered for the Brian Perry Waikato Regional Sports Awards on Thursday 31st January 2019 at Claudelands Conference and Event Centre, Hamilton.

2018 winners:

Service to Sport: Graham Hallet, Neville Lowe, Michele Pipe
Mayoral Award: Alex Bradley
Team of the Year: Whangamata Motorboaters (Surf Boat Rowers)
Secondary School Sportswoman: Emma Watson
Secondary School Sportsman: Braedyn Henderson
Emerging Talent: Cailen Calkin
Sportsperson of the Year: Pam Wright
Administrator of the Year: Debbie Burge
Official of the Year: Emele Ezekiela
Coach of the Year: Linley McMillan
Club of the Year: Morrinsville Junior Soccer Club
Secondary School Contribution to Sport: Ruby Stevens
Sporting Personality of the Year: Murray Hawkins
Innovation in Recreation and Sport Award: Real Health NZ

Summary of winners:

Mayoral Award: Alex Bradley, Rugby Union 
Alex has played most of his rugby for Morrinsville Rugby and Sports with a stint at United Matamata Sports and more recently running out for Waihou. Alex announced his retirement from representative rugby in 2013. This followed a season in which he Captained the Waikato team, including winning the Ranfurly Shield and representing the Chiefs during the 2012 season that they won the Super Rugby title for the first time. So not only has Alex played for a club in each town in this District - he has also achieved the astounding feat of having played for or against every single provincial rugby club in New Zealand and it is for that reason that he receives the Mayoral Award.
Secondary School Contribution to Sport: Ruby Stevens, Lacrosse
Ruby has continued to champion lacrosse, playing for the A team, coaching the B team and umpiring at the Waikato Secondary Schools league. She also assisted at a Year 8 information evening and organises extra fitness training for both teams before school – a fact that impressed the judges. Ruby leads by example and is respectful and respected by team mates, umpires and coaches. 
Administrator of the Year: Debbie Burge, Netball
Quote “Every netball centre needs a Debbie Burge”. Debbie is Te Aroha Netball Centre’s Fun Fern coordinator, Rep coordinator and is a member of the centre executive. Her combination of great organisational skills and huge enthusiasm for netball creates an environment where budding players are inspired to participate and improve. Debbie also turns her hand to coaching, coach mentoring and umpiring
Official of the Year: Emele Ezekiela, Netball
Emele is a senior umpire at Morrinsville Netball Centre, umpiring senior grade games on Thursdays, Thames Valley A grade, Under 15 reps plus junior and college teams. Emele offers support and guidance to young umpires during and after games with a focus on building their confidence, knowledge and skill level.
Coach of the Year: Linley McMillan, Netball
Supporting the development of netball players is the reason Linley coaches. She has been motivated to seek advice and to upskill through others and by attending workshops and is currently working through her Foundation Coaching award. This year she has coached the David St Year 5 team who won the team sportsmanship award, and the Morrinsville College Junior B team. Passionate about supporting kids to play sport, her energy is contagious and she leaves a positive effect on everyone she makes contact with.
Secondary School Sportswoman of the Year: Emma Watson, Equestrian
Emma epitomises good sportsmanship, encouraging and supporting others and bringing competitors together in friendship. She fits college representation in Netball, basketball and Cross Country around her equestrian commitments. An amazing array of equestrian results include winning the National Pony Grand Prix series and the National Junior Rider Series in her first season. Emma was  the first Kiwi to qualify and compete in the Children’s International Classic Finals in China, for two years in a row, where she was a member of the gold medal winning team.
Secondary School Sportsman of the Year: Braedyn Henderson
Braedyn is often commended for his calm demeanour and sportsmanship in the various sports he plays at college excelling at Squash for which he has been selected for the New Zealand junior development squad. He represented the New Zealand Secondary Schools team in the Trans-Tasman test series, winning 9 of 10 matches and is currently B2 grade, ranked NZ number 6 Under 15 boy.
Emerging Talent: Cailen Calkin, Cycling
Cailen’s achievements in BMX over the past twelve months are too numerous to list but the fact that he has been selected for the Cycling New Zealand National BMX Performance Hub and the Sport New Zealand Pathway to Podium Group tells you that future success is on the cards. As New Zealand Junior Elite Champion, Cailen competed in a mixed team at the Youth Olympic Games achieving 5th place.
Sport Personality of the Year: Murray Hawkins, Hockey
The Matamata College girls first eleven faced a challenge this year as five key players had moved on. However, through Murray’s coaching the team not only maintained their place in the A Grade Secondary School competition - they achieved third place! His stand out skill is to connect with each player individually and to draw out their strengths to benefit the team.
Club of the Year: Morrinsville Junior Soccer Club 
At the end of last season, the Morrinsville Junior Soccer Club was close to folding, but an energetic and well organised committee has well and truly turned this around! Playing numbers have increased, the bank balance is healthy, committee members have doubled, and the club now has a great community feel. 
Team of the Year: Whangamata Surf Boat Rowers 
These surf boat life savers are all students at Te Aroha College. In addition to volunteer patrol hours they were dedicated to training and competing across the North Island. Several regional competition gold medals were backed up at National events followed by Gold in 3 of 4 rounds and silver in the other at the New Zealand Surfboat Series making them clear New Zealand age group champions
Sportsperson of the Year: Pam Wright, Golf
Pam has been involved in and around golf for most of her sporting career but has really had a year to remember and celebrate with her proudest achievement being the runner up in the New Zealand Golf Home Links Cup. This was in addition to representing Waikato and winning a gold medal at the Masters Interprovinical Championship
Service to Sport: Graham Hallett, Rugby Union
Graham found his passion for rugby as a player and holds Thames Valley close to his heart, he still loves the sport and stays involved through the varied voluntary roles he has filled.
Hs major contribution has been to Rugby Refereeing although he has enjoyed stints as coach at Primary and College level. He joined the Thames Valley Referee Association in 1983 and maintains his involvement to this day through the Appointment Panel. Previously he made it to the top panel, continuing to referee in Thames Valley and other provincial fixtures as well as representative fixtures from Northland to Taranaki.
Graham was voted onto the Thames Valley Rugby Union as a Director in 2007 serving 3 years voted Deputy Chair in 2013 and has been Chairman since 2014.
Graham states that his efforts are so players, administrators and Referees can get the same enjoyment he received from the great people, teams and clubs he has been associated with and it is an honour to recognise his service tonight.
Service to Sport: Neville Lowe, Indoor Bowls
Fifteen years ago Neville decided to do something about the steady decline in indoor bowls participation so he put a mat down in a school hall. This was the origins of the Te Aroha Association Inter Schools Indoor Bowls tournament that Neville has continued to facilitate and empower and in which five local schools compete annually. Contributing to this success has been Neville’s organisation of volunteer coaches, referees and mentors.
His primary focus is to foster a sense of fun and enjoyment of the game and over the years hundreds of children have had the opportunity to experience Indoor Bowls due to Neville’s love of the game and willingness to take the initiative.
His efforts are greatly appreciated by schools, parents and the children and so it is a very great pleasure to recognise his service tonight.
Service to Sport: Michele Pipe, Basketball
Michele’s name is well known by basketballers in Te Aroha. She has voluntarily coached both junior and senior teams for over 20 years with standout achievements being the 2012 Senior Girls winning the National A Secondary Schools title and winning the junior girl Waikato Country competition in 2017.
Michele’s ‘relentless positivity’ is cited as one reason why she is amazing at what she does but so too is her ability to be individually supportive of each girl and valuing players of every level. Hundreds of players have gained basketball skills directly from Michele who is able to make building basketball teams from scratch look easy.
In addition to coaching Michele is also a Te Aroha Basketball committee member and it is with the pride of the club and the many players she has impacted that this award for service is made.
Innovation in Recreation and Sport Award: Real Health NZ
Frustrated by the problematic imagery and language around exercise for women, qualified Physical Trainers and Health Coaches Renee Norman and Jenna Smith decided to provide real, simple, health and fitness solutions to empower real women to ‘be their best self’. Real Health New Zealand is an online community with the key messages ‘ditch the all or nothing’ approach and something is always better than nothing’. Their brand now has over 23,000 social media followers and they are particularly proud of the sense of community and support that has evolved in their members community and their stand against unrealistic health and fitness fashions.

Winners Photos
All Photos

2018 Ingham's Matamata Piako District Sports Awards winners announced!

More News Articles

‘Positive Vibes Only’ sideline behaviour campaign launches in the Waikato region

‘Positive Vibes Only’ sideline behaviour campaign launches in the Waikato region


Head down to any sports field on a Saturday morning and you’re more than likely to encounter some negative sideline behaviour...

Click to read more

This is ME® Online Workshop: Empowering Physical Activity Providers

This is ME® Online Workshop: Empowering Physical Activity Providers


Launch of Online Modules to Boost Women and Girls’ Participation

Click to read more

Waikato Regional Active Spaces Plan renewed after 12 months of work

Waikato Regional Active Spaces Plan renewed after 12 months of work


Waikato Regional Active Spaces Plan provides a high-level strategic framework for play, active recreation, and sport facilities, including spaces and places planning and optimisation guidance across the region.

Click to read more

Hamilton Marist developing regions first artificial surface for multiple codes

Hamilton Marist developing regions first artificial surface for multiple codes


Hamilton Marist are aiming to meet a demand for playing fields by developing the regions first artificial surface suitable for rugby, football, and multiple other sporting codes. 

Click to read more