Excellence across the sport and recreation sector was last night recognised with the presentation of the New Zealand Sport and Recreation Sector Awards at a dinner in Wellington.
Adventurer Graeme Dingle and Dave Gerrard, who represented New Zealand in swimming and has been chef de mission and team doctor at Commonwealth and Olympic Games, were both honoured with Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Also presented were awards to recognise excellence in innovation, leadership, events, project collaboration and commercial partnership.
This is the second year the awards have been presented.
SPARC chief executive Peter Miskimmin said the awards were designed to recognise the outstanding work people in the sport and recreation sector were doing.
``I was on the judging panel so I know how difficult it was to decide the winners when faced with so many quality entries. Sport and recreation is a dynamic sector to be involved in and it is important we recognise and celebrate the success of those who are running world class events, showing leadership, and inspiring kiwis to participate and win in sport and recreation,’’ Miskimmin said.
As well as the Lifetime Achievement Awards, other awards presented were:
The Innovation Award – Festival of Squash – Squash New Zealand
The judges said the organisers of the tournament had done something completely different by putting a glass squash court in the middle of Mt Maunganui’s Bayfair Shopping Centre to quite literally bring the sport to the public. Thirteen of the world’s top 20 players took part in the tournament, entertaining spectators and shoppers alike.
The Leadership Award – Dave Beeche, CEO Triathlon New Zealand
The judges said this proved the most difficult category to decide but they also felt that experiencing such difficulty in deciding on a winner was a good problem to have as it showed how many outstanding individuals there were leading in the sport and recreation sector. They said Beeche was an outstanding leader who was passionate about his sport, which was now one of the fastest growing sports in the country. He was a mentor to other leaders in the sector.
The Event Excellence Award – 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games – Winter Games New Zealand
The judges said the organisation behind this world class event was meticulous. They noted that the Winter Games was the first of its kind, was started from scratch and put New Zealand on the map. The Winter Games were endorsed by international sports bodies, 816 competitors attended from 41 countries, there was a global television audience of 765 million and the event posted a surplus.
The Project Collaboration Award – Community Swim
John Walker FIND YOUR FIELD OF DREAMS Foundation (FYFOD); Manukau Leisure Services (MLS); Manukau City Council (MCC); Counties Manukau Sport (CMS); WaterSafe Auckland.
The judges said the organisers of the Community Swim project believed that it was every child’s right to learn to swim. They had a vision about providing school children in Manukau with free swimming lessons and they had made it happen. The community had been fully involved, and there had been anecdotal evidence that truancy levels were down on the days the buses turned up to take the children to their swimming lessons.
The Commercial Partnership Award – BikeNZ and RaboPlus
The judges said BikeNZ had been very clever about overcoming the tradition of membership when creating its RideStrong on-line cycling community and had formed a partnership with RaboPlus which went beyond dollars. The benefits to both partners were outstanding and provided an example for how others in the sector could similarly succeed.
Background on the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Awards:
Graeme Dingle ONZM MBE is an inspiring adventurer, author and community leader. His passion for mountaineering and the outdoors has taken him on numerous adventures including in New Zealand, Europe and the Himalayas. He turned his passion for the outdoors into a career and was a founding member of the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoors Pursuit Centre and the Foundation for Youth Development (formerly Project K). He is a member of the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Recreation Council (SEHORC) which advises SPARC on issues relating to recreation. He has received numerous awards including the MBE for service to outdoor pursuits. He is a recipient of the United States National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Service Award, is a recipient of the Governor General’s Award for Mountain Rescue and he is an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
Dave Gerrard OBE CNZM is a former Olympic Games swimming representative (he specialised in butterfly) and Commonwealth Games gold and bronze medallist. After he retired from competition, Gerrard gained a doctorate in medicine. He is highly regarded in the field of sports medicine and has been team doctor at several Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games. He was chef de mission at the 1994 Commonwealth Games and at the 1996 Summer Olympics. In 1996, he was awarded the OBE for services to medicine and sport. In 2007, he was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
SPARC is the government agency charged with promoting, encouraging and supporting sport and physical recreation in New Zealand. For more information, visit www.sparc.org.nz.