Winner of Sport Manawatu’s 2012 Grassroots Sports Awards Volunteer of the Year, Lin Tozer has been named Sport Maker 2013 in a joint initiative between Sport New Zealand and Lotto to support and recognise sport volunteers.
The Palmerston North swimming club volunteer and coach accepted the accolade on behalf of all New Zealand sport volunteers at the 2013 New Zealand Sport and Recreation Awards Dinner in Wellington on Monday night.
Sport Maker recognises one volunteer a year who represents the amazing work volunteers do and significant contribution they make towards making sport happen in New Zealand communities.
Lin volunteers at the Palmerston North Ice Breaker Aquatics swimming club as Race Secretary, coordinating race entries for local and national competitions. She spends five nights a week at the pool for two hours+ every night and is also at almost every local swimming competition coaching swimmers or acting as a pool deck official.
Lin was recognised for her passion, vision and dedication to the Ice Breaker’s club, being called ‘wonder woman’ in a number of nominations for the 2012 Grassroots Sports Awards.
Despite her years of service and support to the club, the award came as a big surprise to the humble Lin.
“I couldn’t believe it to be honest. I was just in shock really – I still am! I thought ‘how did I end up with this?’”
She believes the new partnership is extremely valuable to volunteers.
“I think it’s really important. It’s important that volunteers get the credit that they deserve and the recognition they deserve. We don’t take enough notice of volunteers – we watch elite sports on TV, but we don’t take enough notice of the work at the grassroots level where it all happens”, says Lin.
The partnership between Sport NZ and Lotto will see NZ sport volunteers and their clubs supported and rewarded through the distribution of over $1 million of equipment, clothing, merchandise, and improved resources over the next three years. This year, Sport NZ will receive $35 million to be redistributed through Regional Sports Trusts such as Sport Manawatu.
At a local level, the initiative will further support the work Sport Manawatu does to support and reward volunteers. It shows recognition for volunteer events such as the annual Grassroots Sports Awards and volunteer movie nights held to show appreciation for volunteers who give their time and energy to sport.
Sport Manawatu’s CEO Mike Daisy states that sport could not happen without volunteers.
“Volunteers include coaches, referees, and judges, right through to the people who wash uniforms, transport teams and clean uniforms. They are the foundation of sport in our community and it’s important that they are recognised and valued.”
Sport Manawatu works in partnership with Sport New Zealand as a Regional Sports Trust to strengthen and increase recreation participation, and to promote volunteerism.