Chris Lord has taken out the title of Sportsperson of the Year for the second year at Sport Waikato’s The Lines Company Waitomo District Sports Awards held on Monday 25th November at the Les Munro Centre in Te Kuiti. Chris is the first ever New Zealander to win the Stihl Timbersport Rookie world championship title - he earned this honour in Sweden against other rookie champions from ten nations.
Samantha Corbett was again named Secondary School Sportswoman of the Year for an outstanding year in athletics with gold, silver and bronze medals across various distances. Caleb Davey took out the Secondary School Sportsman of the Year in a number of disciplines including basketball, swimming, cross country, badminton and squash and is currently ranked 6th overall junior boy in squash in the Waikato region with a high B2 grade.
Coach of the Year was won by Rangi Te Whare, a tireless coach, trainer, fundraiser, driver, uniform and sponsorship manager for many sports including Ki-o-Rahi, rugby union, volleyball, badminton, squash and touch.
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 Waitomo district – 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 Andrew Downey, Glynn Meads, Ken Perry, Kim Osborne, Maria McDonald, Maryann Grainger, Paul Mitchell, Richard Pethybridge, Suzanne Downey
Administrator of the Year Erin Brookes
Official of the Year Daryl Croad
Coach of the Year Rangi Te Whare
Team of the Year Te Kuiti Bowling Club Women’s Pairs Team
Club of the Year New Zealand Shearing Championships
Innovation in Sport and Recreation Brook Park Disc Golf
Secondary School Sportswoman of the Year Samantha Corbett
Secondary School Sportsman of the Year Caleb Davey
Secondary School Contribution to Sport Morgan Hussey
Emerging Talent Topia Barrowcliffe
Sporting Personality Graeme Plenderleith
Sportsperson of the Year Chris Lord
View all photos here
For further information, contact:
Sport Waikato Waikato District Coordinator Dede Downs
027 485 3692 or email
Summary of winners:
Administrator of the Year: Erin Brookes, Waitete Junior Rugby
Erin ran a very effective manager/administrator role for Te Kuiti, Waitete and North King Country Junior Rugby. For Waitete, her roles included organising the muster, sorting teams, managing the Under 11s, the sevens team and the Global Games team to New Zealand tournament at Taupo. Manager of North King Country Under 45s and Rippa Rugby team to nationals in Wellington, all fundraising, sponsorship, accommodation, travel and accounts were handled capably by Erin as well as covering every other little detail required when taking junior teams away to tournaments.
Team of the Year: Te Kuiti Bowling Club Women’s Pairs Team
Up and coming star lawn bowlers, Jo McQuilkin and Vicki Coll pulled off a special double, winning both the Under 5 pairs and Women’s Open Pairs Waikato titles. This remarkable feat was a first ever in the Waikato region. Their win at senior level qualified them for the National Champion of Champions in Dunedin where they placed a very creditable 10th from 18 teams. This October they also won the Waikato Junior pairs title for bowlers who have been playing five years and under. As individuals both Jo and Vicki earned Year 8 Waikato representative honours.
Sportsperson of the Year: Chris Lord, Waitomo Axe & Gun Club supported by Waitomo Sports Club and Coast Sports Club, woodchopping
Chris is the first ever New Zealander to win the Stihl Timbersport Rookie world championship title. He earned this honour in Sweden against other rookie champions from ten nations. On his return he took 4th place honours in the Stihl Timbersports 2019 New Zealand Mens Pro elite Champonships, featuring on Sky Sports TV. Other world title events, in open class, 5th in Standing Championship Christchurch and 3rd in Underhand Champs in Rotorua. Many National and provincial top five placings across the country in all chopping and sawing events have fallen to Chris over the past year – Jack and jill, Standing, Underhand, Tree felling, Double saw, Single saw, to name a few.
Secondary Student Contribution to Sport: Morgan Hussey, multiple sports
Morgan not only played in her Te Kuiti High School netball team and Maniapoto Under 15 rep team but is the designated umpire for these and a number of other teams. She umpires and helps to coach a junior team and is a valuable Maniapoto Netball Committee member. Morgan has a knack for fitting in to any Te Kuiti High School team that needs the services of an all-rounder. Not content to just play, she puts a lot of effort into helping with recruiting, organising and officiating.
Official of the Year: Daryl Croad, 1976, shearing
As Chief Woolhandling judge at the New Zealand Shearing championships, Daryl selected, coordinated and supported judges from around the country, running training days and skill improvement sessions. As adjudicator at the championships, Daryl was called upon to make final decisions on a score or other officiating matters. He extended his role to run tutorials and mentoring days for competitors to teach them the methodology behind scoring and better educate them when competing. His mentoring of future judges shows a commitment to the sport and to those who judge and compete in the woolhandling sections of shearing competitions.
Coach of the Year: Rangi Te Whare, Te Kuiti High School, multiple sports
A tireless coach, trainer, fundraiser, driver, uniform and sponsorship manager, you name it, Rangi has done it for his many teams. Te Kuiti High Ki-o-Rahi won the Te Nehenehenui King Country regionals then on to Nationals in Wellington coming 8th from 32 teams. They have recently qualified again for the 2020 Nationals in Waitangi. Other High School teams that benefitted from Coach Rangi’s energy and enthusiasm – the first fifteen rugby team that played in the Waikato competition, volleyball and badminton teams that competed in the King Country championships in Te Awamutu, squash teams and individuals who competed and placed well at Waikato regionals. Rangi’s touch skills were recognised as he took the Waikato Under 12 mixed development team to the Interprovincial series in Rotorua, where they thrashed the elite Waikato team and Auckland to place third. His North King Country Under 45kgs junior rugby team won the Taumarunui tournament. A positive asset to local sport.
Club of the Year: New Zealand Shearing Championships
The club headed into 2019 with a deficit which the committee, with strong self-governance, restraint and a few important tweaks to a solid show and three-day event tackled head on.
The retention of important sponsors and re-energising of the working committee produced a healthy profit margin ensuring a positive kick-start going into the 2020 event. Volunteer numbers contributed to the success of the huge annual national shearing event with over 300 people of all ages committing many hours of labour. The New Zealand Shearing Champs also gave back to local clubs allowing a number of them use the event as their major fundraiser for the year. High praise from the International shearing fraternity and local community, as well as a healthy financial status has the committee smiling again. Another highlight - the club’s New Zealand representative team triumphed over Wales in the International series held in Wales.
Innovation in Sport & Recreation: Brook Park Disc Golf
The Brook Park Incorporated society volunteer committee‘s purpose is to encourage and increase the use of this wonderful community asset. The project to develop a disc golf course, a sport that is in a growth phase around the world, was initially promoted by an enthusiast from Auckland who designed the course and helped source the required materials. A significant amount of financial outlay, sourcing of funding and many hours of local volunteer time was spent on the build process. The main objectives, to provide another exciting and affordable sport that is available to everyone, getting young people off the couch and away from their electronics and have schools actively involved and competing in competitions and fun days. This also provides a playground for those who already know and enjoy the sport to come, play and stay in the Te Kuiti/Waitomo district. Brook Park now boasts an 18-hole championship course and a 9-hole family course that weaves through the trees and paddocks of the park which is plotted on Google maps. Following the recent North Island Championship event, the Brook Park course has been quoted as one of the best and most adventurous in the country.
Secondary Sportswoman of the Year: Samantha Corbett, Te Kuiti High School, Athletics
Our very own New Zealand representative, Sam won gold in the Under 18 1500 metres at the Polynesion Track and Field Champs in Tahiti. She earned a top 100 placing in the demanding IAAF World Cross Country Championships Under 20 women in Denmark. Representing Waikato BOP Under 18 women, at the New Zealand Track and Field champs in Christchurch, Sam won gold in the 2000m steeplechase, silver in 3000 metres and bronze in the 4 x 4000 relay. New Zealand Secondary schools Track and Field in /Dunedin – silver medal in 2000m steeplechase. Fourth place in New Zealand Under 20s 3000m. Representing Te Kuiti High school, Sam dominated the King Country Cross Country event.
Secondary Sportsman of the Year: Caleb Davey, Te Kuiti High School, squash
Captain of TKHS Under 18 Basketball team which placed 14th from 32 teams in Waikato secondary schools comp and 11th from 23 teams at the New Zealand Regional Premiership. Te Kuiti High Senior Swimming champion, cross country and badminton. Squash is Caleb’s individual sport where he shines – selected for the Waikato junior team to compete at national junior team’s event, Squash Waikato Elite Development Squad and currently ranked 6th overall junior boy in Waikato area with a high B2 grade. Locally, Caleb is the Te Kuiti Squash Men’s champion for the third consecutive year and boys champion for the sixth year. A key team member and coach at his club.
Emerging Talent: Topia Barrowcliffe, New Zealand Shearing Championships, shearing
A chip off the Barrowcliffe block and continuing the proud tradition of shearing, Topia has achieved high honours in the junior category at such a tender age. Making the finals in every event he entered and earning five wins in junior grade with the best speed shear time of 41 seconds, Topia was 2nd at Golden Shears and 3rd at New Zealand Shears and is the 2nd ranked junior in New Zealand. In December he shore a personal best tally of 302 lambs in eight hours at the age of 14.
Sporting Personality: Graeme Plenderleith, Te Kuiti Gymsport Club, gymnastics
What can one add to yet another year of dedicated coaching and support that Plendy has provided to a multitude of kids and new parent coaches? The three-day holiday football sessions followed by Gymsport in the afternoons, where the kids marvel at his handstands; Saturday mornings assisting at junior football, coaching and refereeing; table tennis, organising and coaching and single handedlly providing gymnastics for kids through terms two and three. Let’s not forget his work with Te Wharekura o Maniapoto and Te Kuiti High School athletes leading up to King Country and Waikato Champs. Always the teacher.
Service to Sport: Glynn Meads – Waitete Rugby Football Club and King Country Rugby
Glynn’s service to his Waitete club, King Country and New Zealand rugby over the years has been immense - playing, coaching, managing and now at administrative level. His playing days throughout the 80s and 90s - 14 years for Waitete, 113 games for King Country with two as captain, New Zealand Emerging Players two years and National Divisional team three years. Coaching Under 21s and club teams, then King Country Rams led to management roles within the Rams followed by Rugby Development Officer duties assisting club coaches and junior rep coaches. With his lifetime goal of seeing Waitete and King Country Rugby grow and thrive, Glynn is currently serving on the King Country Rugby Board.
Service to Sport: Ken Perry – Piopio Aria Golf club
43 years of service to golf - President, Club Captain, Farm manager, committee member, working bee co-ordinator, you name it, Ken Perry has done it. When the Piopio Aria club was formed at its present location in 1980, Ken was at the forefront, setting up the course alongside other volunteers with diggers, tractors and shovel in hand. His expertise was vital in the setting up of a farm alongside the golf course, ensuring financial stability heading into the future. Ongoing maintenance through the years has always been Ken’s priority. As a dedicated Piopio Aria member, regular club golfer, King Country team and Pennants member, Ken has represented his club with pride. He was awarded a life membership and is also a Waikato Eagles member - an elite group of volunteers nominated for their high contribution to golf. Ken’s fellow committee and golfing mates wish him many more years of enjoyment following that little white ball.
Service to Sport: Kim Osborne – Waitomo Axe and Gun and Waitomo Caves Sports day
A mainstay of both woodchopping and Waitomo Sports Day events, Kim’s ‘can do’ attitude has helped keep the sport of woodchopping going in our area to a very high standard. He is a founding member of the Waitomo Axe & Gun Club and has held president and vice president positions on the Waitomo Caves Sports Day committee. Described by his fellow volunteers as ‘a tip top bloke’, Kim’s easygoing attitude and huge smile hide his massive workload leading up to every annual sports day. Whether securing sponsors, sourcing and setting up blocks for competitions, setting up and taking down the sports day site or whatever else needs to be done, Kim has always made himself available.
Service to Sport: Maria Macrae – Waitete Rugby Football Club and Waitomo Basketball
Maria is an all-round great Waitete Rugby Football Club member who was named ‘Most Valuable member’ in 2018. In over 25 years with the club she has been a casual bar-person and licensed bar manager. She has cooked and catered for visiting teams and at events, cleaned up after events and functions and always on hand to help out. Maria has been an active member of club working bees, has driven the courtesy van and supports the club and manager in all that happens around the premises. Her contribution to Waitomo basketball must also be mentioned as Maria has been a steady player, worker and supporter of local basketball throughout its heyday in the 80s and 90s to the present day. Her refereeing and gathering teams together, supporting school teams and miniball in her quiet way behind the scenes reflects Maria’s humble nature.
Service to Sport: Maryann Grainger – Te Kuiti High School
Every school and club needs a Maryann. Te Kuiti High School has been the recipient of Maryann’s coaching, fundraising, driving, umpiring, coordination of kapa haka, rugby and netball facilitation, sports team trip organiser and everything else in between. She achieved a number of massive feats along the way; to name a few, facilitating fundraising to the value of $140,000 for rugby and netball teams’ trips to Australia and as Coordinator/Treasurer for the 2017 Tainui Secondary School Kapahaka regionals, she has always shown integrity and transparency managing finances, warmth and humility when going that extra mile to help her students and reliability and wise counsel when assisting team coaches and managers. An integral part of the high school community for over 10 years, Maryann’s support and commitment to students and staff had been all-encompassing. The wider community and especially Te Kuiti High School will be losing a valued and treasured friend and colleague when Maryann and husband Stewart leave the district next year.
Service to Sport: Paul Mitchell – Waitete Rugby Football Club and King Country Rugby
Paul is another Waitete and King Country rugby stalwart who has given back to the sport from an early age. His long-playing service as a senior started in 1988 with 12 years club rugby alongside 147 provincial games, to be the most capped King Country player. Paul earned Super Rugby status for the Auckland Blues, the Mighty Chiefs and New Zealand Invitational fifteen. Coaching at club, Maniapoto sub-union and provincial level followed as well as committee, management, Presidential roles and King Country Board representation. He has co-led and driven many projects that have improved and enhanced the surroundings of Rugby Park – the replacing of the outer coloursteel fence, re-naming of the Ewan MacLachlan Stand, upgrading the old manual scoreboard with a digital electronic model. As well, Paul is sole groundsman managing improvements such as retaining walls and field upgrades. Other codes Paul has excelled in have been golf, basketball and cricket. 
Service to Sport: Richard Pethybridge – Te Kuiti/ North King Country Football/Waitomo Basketball
Richard has been involved with football and basketball in Te Kuiti and beyond for over 25 years. When his kids started playing, he was not a parent who watched from the background but threw himself into organising, coaching and refereeing – primary teams through to secondary and then senior teams. Within both codes, he was a senior player always working behind the scenes. Te Kuiti Albion player, administrator and manager for 10 years, Junior football/soccer and twilight competition referee for 24 years, high school boys team coach for seven years and girls first 11 for four years, miniball coach for eight years, coach/manager men’s and mixed Waitomo basketball teams for 25 years. He played a big part in revitalising the senior Albion Football Club in 2010 and taking the team and club to many successes in the Waikato competition. When the club went into recess, Richard initiated a summer futsal league, a role he is now ready to hand over to the younger players. Still a valuable sponsor and Masters member (still playing) of Waitomo Basketball.
Service to Sport: Suzanne and Andrew Downey, Piopio Tennis Club
Many young adults can thank Andrew and Suzanne Downey for the hours of tennis coaching that they received over the past 25 years. These two tennis enthusiasts organised very popular annual junior coaching sessions that attracted 40 to 50 kids every summer. They engaged and worked with professional coaches Rakesh Rai and ex-Waitomo player Johnny Merchant, bringing the best to Piopio. As a teacher, Suzanne ensured tennis was offered at school and the interest carried on to club level. Both long term committee members, they were instrumental in the astro-turf courts and court lighting being installed - all of this whilst playing King Country A grade inter-club tennis and tournaments. They ran the popular business house competition for many years until stepping aside in 2016, and both have now taken up squash in Te Kuiti with Suzanne on committee whilst Andrew spends hours serving the Te Kuiti Fire Brigade and Piopio Tennis committee. With the Piopio Tennis Club’s 100 year anniversary coming up in 2020, what’s the bet these two will step up and get involved.

2019 The Lines Company Waitomo District Sports Awards winners announced!

More News Articles

Celebrating the benefits of active and creative recreation

Celebrating the benefits of active and creative recreation


CEOs Matthew Cooper of Sport Waikato and Dr. Jeremy Mayall of Creative Waikato met last week to experience ‘Te Ara Toi o Te Taniwha’ together.

Click to read more

Waikato Regional Active Spaces Plan now live

Waikato Regional Active Spaces Plan now live


Sport Waikato, alongside contributing author Robyn Cockburn (Lumin Consultancy), have renewed the Waikato Regional Active Spaces Plan which was presented and endorsed at the Waikato Mayoral Forum in March.

Click to read more

Sport Waikato

Sport Waikato's This is ME brand to 'retire' 


After 7 years of encouraging, supporting, and celebrating women and girls of all ages and abilities to move their bodies their way...

Click to read more

‘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