Brett Ranga was named Sportsperson of the Year at the Hauraki/Thames Coromandel District Sports Awards held on Tuesday night. Brett captained the 2018/2019 Thames Valley Swampfoxes Heartland team to their first ever Meads Cup victory and was named the New Zealand Heartland Player of the Year for 2018.
Thames High School squash player Georgia Robcke took out the Secondary School Sportswoman of the Year, placing third at the North Island Junior Age Group Championships and 4th at the 2019 New Zealand Junior Open for Under 19s.
Chris Hogarth of Tairua Primary School was named Coach of the Year for Rippa Rugby; Chris has produced a number of champion teams in both Rippa Rugby and touch that have performed to an exceptional ability, with the year 5 and 6 Rippa Rugby team placing fourth at Rippa Rugby Nationals.
Sport Waikato CEO Matthew Cooper was very pleased with the high calibre of nominations, finalists and winners this year.
“What an amazing array of talent we have in the Hauraki and Thames Coromandel districts – the dedication to their chosen sport is evident. And where would our sportspeople be without the fantastic support of the many talented coaches, administrators, officials and supporters,” Cooper said.
Eligible winners are now considered for the Brian Perry Waikato Regional Sports Awards on Thursday 30th January 2020 at the Claudelands Conference and Event Centre, Hamilton.
2019 winners:

Service to Sport Carol Battson, Chris Costello, Don Neil, Heather O'Hagan, Kelvin Wickliffe, Ross Cooper
Administrator of the Year Te Aroha McKain
Coach of the Year Chris Hogarth
Secondary School Team of the Year Hauraki Plains College A Girls Shooting Team
Team of the Year Thames Valley Open Pairs
Official of the Year Rachael Aitchison
Secondary School Sportswoman of the Year Georgia Robcke
Secondary School Sportsman of the Year Guy Johnston
Sportsperson of the Year Brett Ranga
Sporting Personality of the Year Ramesh Subasinghe
Club of the Year Thames Gymsports
Secondary School Contribution to Sport Holly McCleery
Emerging Talent Kalani Nicol
Innovation in Sport & Recreation Thames Valley Hockey Association
View all photos here 

For further information, contact:
Sport Waikato Hauraki District Coordinator Julie Stephenson
027 486 4955 or email
Sport Waikato Thames Coromandel District Coordinator Bill Cooksley
021 944 516 or email
Summary of winners:
Club of the Year: Thames Gymsports
The committee of the Thames Gymsports Club have worked strategically to increase opportunities for young gymnasts - self-funded a move to a dedicated facility to provide a longer season and expand the programmes available. Paying for existing teenage coaches to attend training sessions and establishing systems has allowed time to involve coaches and committee members in strategic planning, resulting in an increased membership from 100 to 190. 
Administrator of the Year: Te Aroha McKain, Paeroa Youth Rugby
Her official role on the Paeroa Youth Rugby committee is fundraising and sponsorship, but Te Aroha McKain’s (TA) contribution is so much more. TA’s big picture thinking and leadership has instilled a sense of being part of a special family. The club has experienced a steady increase in membership and adults willing to step up as volunteers. Everything TA does is for the betterment of the children and giving them a good experience playing rugby.
Official of the Year: Rachael Aitchison, Thames Valley Hockey Association
Taking advantage of the Hockey New Zealand Umpire pathway, Rachael Aitchison has umpired at primary, secondary, senior and Hockey New Zealand age group level. Recognising a need, Rachael has been responsible for organising, training and developing both junior and senior umpires in the Thames Valley Hockey community. She has created a good relationship with technical officials at Hockey New Zealand and is a strong voice for the Thames Valley Umpire group.
Secondary School Contribution to Sport: Holly McCleery, Mercury Bay Area School, Basketball
Holly McCleery is a School Sports Leader at Mercury Bay Area School and has been an asset to sports teams with her contribution on and off the court. This included initially coaching the senior girls basketball team, the junior girls basketball and senior A netball teams. Holly also manages to referee basketball and is a regional lifeguard at Hot Water Beach. Holly was awarded a ‘lifers’ award this year for her contribution to the Mercury Bay Netball Centre.
Coach of the Year: Chris Hogarth, Tairua Primary School, Rugby Union
Chris Hogarth is a teacher and the Sport Coordinator at Tairua School and is one of the major influencers as to why approximately 80% of the school population is involved in team and club sport. He has produced a number of champion teams in both Rippa Rugby and touch that have performed to an exceptional ability within the Thames/Coromandel and Waikato region and more recently the year 5 and 6 Rippa Rugby team placed 4th at Rippa Rugby Nationals. 
Secondary School Team of the Year: Hauraki Plains College A Girls Shooting Team
Lauryn Bond, Katrina Bond and Ayisha Hull make up the Hauraki Plains College A Girls Shooting team which has won every regional shooting competition to date. They travelled to the South Island Secondary School Championships, winning gold and then topped off their season by winning gold at the New Zealand Secondary Champs. Dedication and a unique ability to perform under pressure underlines the ethos of this team.
Team of the Year: Thames Valley Open Pairs, Bowls
The Thames Valley Open Pairs combination of Colin Gawith and Karl Garrett are very successful club bowlers in their own right, who have won numerous individual awards over many years. With both contributing to their clubs and demonstrating great sportsmanship and comradery to fellow bowlers, they created a formidable pair placing 2nd in the 2019 Bowls New Zealand National Pairs championship. 
Secondary School Sportswoman of the Year: Georgia Robcke, Thames High School, Squash
Georgia Robcke from Thames High School has moved up a grade in squash and continues to excel. She has helped her Waikato team to many top three national placings and is a member of the New Zealand Elite Squad. Georgia was 3rd at the North Island Junior Age Group Championships and 4th at the 2019 New Zealand Junior Open for Under 19s and is also ranked 14th in the seniors. She represented New Zealand in individual and teams at the 2019 World Junior Championships in Malaysia. 
Secondary School Sportsman of the Year: Guy Johnston, Hauraki Plains College, Cycling
A lot of travel and solo training doesn’t bother Guy Johnston from Hauraki Plains College. He finished 2nd in the New Zealand Under 17 Downhill Series and first in the Cycling New Zealand Downhill Series. He also finished 2nd at the U 17 at New Zealand National Mountain Bike Champs. Guy was one of eight riders from around the world selected to attend a talent camp in Spain and hopes to be perform well enough to be offered a two year contract for the World Cup circuit.
Emerging Talent: Kalani Nicol, Mercury Bay Pony Club
A very worthy sole nominee and recipient of this category, Kalani Nicol is a passionate equestrian rider frequently training her own horses. Placing 9th at the National Horse of the Year competition, she also had multiple placings in the National Equestrian Sport New Zealand Junior rider series in the Under 18 age group. Kalani represented New Zealand at the German Friendship Games - a junior international competition with 45 other countries gaining a 4th individual placing in the first round and 10th in the final. 
Sportsperson of the Year: Brett Ranga, Waihi Rugby Club
From the Waihi Athletic Rugby Club, Brett Ranga captained the 2018/2019 Thames Valley Swampfoxes Heartland team to their first ever Meads Cup victory. Brett was named the New Zealand Rugby Heartland Player of the Year for 2018 and named captain of the New Zealand Heartland XV to play Samoa in 2019. He has a very humble attitude and is always willing to give back to the Waihi Rugby Club and community.
Innovation in Sport & Recreation: Thames Valley Hockey Association
The Thames Valley Hockey Youth and Engagement Project was developed to address some key challenges and growing hockey participation in the region. Aiming to be the ‘easiest code to do business with’, new and innovative ways to engage with youth have included a new five aside competition, flexible game days and times, a Black Sticks roadshow and a new female only year 7/8 team programme. In 2019 the Thames Valley Hockey Association were the recipient of the Hockey New Zealand Silver Award for increasing player numbers within the region.
Sporting Personality of the Year: Ramesh Subasinghe, Waikato Valley Cricket Association
Described as going over and above the duties required as the development officer for Thames Valley, Ramesh Subasinghe was able to get junior cricket up and going in the region through his continual correspondence and persistence. His passion and willingness to share his vast knowledge and recruit volunteers is rapidly growing the game. Coordinating cricket taster sessions and junior smash days resulted in 492 kids playing in tournaments around the district and a junior competition involving six clubs has started this year.
Service to Sport Recipient: Carol Battson, Thames Rugby and Sports Club Inc.
Carol Battson is totally worthy of recognition for the continuous and tireless voluntary hours she puts into managing facilities, feeding players and coordinating and administering amateur sport through the Thames Rugby and Sports Club. Involved since its amalgamation in 1982, Carol has partaken in nearly every job a club requires. Volunteering her time, knowledge, money and catering skills, she still serves on the club committee and has held numerous executive positions. Carol has been the Thames Rugby & Sports Club delegate to the Thames Valley Rugby Union and has been tournament host and caterer for two Roller Mills tournaments. She is a life member of Thames Rugby and Sports Club and has achieved much during her 36 year involvement.
Service to Sport Recipient: Chris Costello, Mercury Bay Rugby & Sports Club Inc.
Since arriving in Whitianga as a teenager, Chris Costello has been on an incredible and passionate journey with Mercury Bay Rugby. Playing 1st XV at Mercury Bay Area School, he was selected to play representative rugby for Thames Valley Seniors aged only 17 and then had stints with the New Zealand Colts in 1989 & 90 and the New Zealand divisional XV in 1990 and 91. In 2015 he finally hung up his playing boots, but has been fully involved with many facets of the club in between years. His 34 years of dedication and contribution to Mercury Bay Rugby as a player, coach, assistant coach, committee member, club captain, chairman and life member is legendary and highly recognised in the Mercury Bay community. This award for Chris for service to rugby is without question and highly deserved.
Service to Sport Recipient: Don Neil, Ngatea Rugby & Sports Club
Don (Daff) Neil has been involved in Rugby on the Hauraki Plains for 40 plus years. He has had numerous roles with Ngatea Rugby & Sports Club and spent a number of years as the medic for both Hauraki North and the Thames Valley Heartland team. To this day he is still the medic for Ngatea Rugby & Sports Club  and an active member of their committee. There isn't a Senior Rugby trophy in the Valley that Daff hasn't won in a supporting role. Outside of Rugby he has also been heavily involved in cricket, particularly coaching at Hauraki Plains College. Daff has an incredible knowledge of all sport and is the man to have on your team in any sport trivia competition. Daff is incredibly deserving of this recognition for his outstanding Service to Sport.
Service to Sport Recipient: Heather O’Hagan, Paeroa Athletics Club and WaiBOP Athletics Association
Heather O’Hagan has been involved with the Paeroa Athletic Club for 31 years and has been a committee member since 1991. She also coached throws at the club for several years before switching to focus on officiating. She became the chief referee across the Waikato region for children’s athletics then moved onto seniors. For the past 15 years she has been the Athletics Waikato BoP coordinator and officials trainer as well as the Athletics New Zealand National Officials Convenor for a four year stint. If you were to go to any meet in the greater Waikato, there is a fair chance Heather has trained every official at that event! She is down to earth, relates well to all ages and loves nothing more than the satisfaction of seeing athletes compete knowing that she has helped provide a top-class competition on a level playing field. Heather O’Hagan is a legend and a shining example of committed service to our community.
Service to Sport Recipient: Kelvin Wickliffe, Paeroa Athletics Club
Kelvin Wickliffe joined the committee of the Paeroa Athletic Club in 1995 and became president the following year - a position he still holds. Kelvin is a very hands on president and often does all the behind the scenes work that is seldom seen by participants and spectators. Kelvin regularly organises rosters for car parking for Paeroa community events like the Battle of the Bands and the Street Racing. He has also followed his children into touch, basketball and rugby, and has been actively involved with either coaching, managing or providing transport. Kelvin, along with the great support of his family, has put a tremendous amount of time and energy into the Paeroa Athletic Club and sport in general in Paeroa. There is not often a club night he misses and over many years he has helped the club develop into the strong platform it is for youth today.
Service to Sport Recipient: Ross Cooper, Thames Valley Rugby Football Union
Since moving to the Hauraki district in 1980, Ross Cooper has made a tremendous contribution to rugby. As a player he played for Paeroa West in the Thames Valley Club Competition and was captain of the Thames Valley Senior team. During the mid-eighties to mid-nineties, Ross quickly moved through the New Zealand rugby ranks to become an All Blacks selector/coach in 1995/96. As coach of Counties-Manukau for three years, Ross was an important influence in the transformation of Jonah Lomu from a schoolboy forward into an All Black wing three quarter. Locally Ross has spent ten years in a governance role for the Thames Valley Rugby Union – a position he is still holds. Behind a massive list of accomplishments is a true lover of rugby who gives full credit to what the game has done for him. Ross willingly helps others and his generosity and commitment over the past forty years is evidence of a true servant of our national game.


2019 Hauraki/Thames Coromande District Sports Awards winners announced!

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