Black Sticks star wins supreme award

Annual sports celebration goes online and creates new categories to recognise efforts made during pandemic





The annual Downer Tararua Sports Awards were held virtually, on Friday, June 17. Viewing parties around the Tararua District made it possible for communities to celebrate together, even though the awards ceremony was held virtually. The judging panel was made up of representatives from community boards and community committees in the Tararua District. To watch the Downer Tararua Sports Awards, head to the Sport Manawatu¯ Facebook page or its YouTube channel. This year, two additional categories were added to showcase the different work the community has done in response to the Covid pandemic and the growing importance of play and active recreation in the community. The additional categories are: Community Play/Active Recreation Initiative of the Year and Covid-19 Response of the Year. The winners of the category awards are as follows: ■ Supreme Sportsperson of the Year: Megan Hull. ■ Sportsperson of the Year: Megan Hull. Megan played as a defender for the NZ Women’s Black Sticks hockey team at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021. The New Zealand women finished eighth out of 16 teams. Megan played in the transtasman series games against Australia in Palmerston North, Black Sticks v Australia in Perth in July 2021, and Black Sticks v Argentina, China, Spain, Japan, Australia and the Netherlands in Tokyo at the Olympics. Megan is currently co-captain of the Vantage Black Sticks women’s hockey team. ■ Junior Sportswoman of the Year: Abby Treder. Abby is an all-round sportsperson, she has represented the Tararua District at a regional and national level in cricket, squash, and hockey. Abby was in the Manawatu¯ Secondary School cricket team, Manawatu¯ Development Cricket team, under-15 and under-18 girls cricket team and attended the Central Districts Under-17 Cricket Camp. Abby was selected to play in the Central Districts women’s franchise team, which went on to win the franchise tournament. Abby received the top Manawatu¯ women’s club T20 player, top batter, and MVP, at the age of 16. She was a part of the Central Districts Junior Squash Team and Central Districts Squash Girls High Performance Squad, and a part of the Central Districts C Grade Ladies Super Champs team that won the regional tournament. ■ Junior Sportsman of the Year: Connor Anderson. Connor has had another awesome year with his boxing, winning the biggest titles up for grabs in the junior boxing division. Some of Connor’s 2021 highlights are: runner-up Hawke’s Bay tournament, Manawatu¯ champion, North Island Golden Gloves champion, New Zealand Golden Gloves champion. And the New Zealand National champion. Connor is committed to his boxing, he trains hard, and it shows in his trophy cabinet. ■ Coach of the Year: Adam Jones. Adam is the owner and coach at BAMS Boxing Club Dannevirke. Adam coached Connor Anderson towards four national titles in 2021, including New Zealand National champion in November 2021, New Zealand Golden Gloves champion in July, North Island Golden Gloves champion in June, Manawatu¯ champion in May 2021. ■ Official of the Year: Ken Metekingi. Although residing for work in Palmerston North, Ken continues to maintain strong ties with the Tararua Community where he grew up and completed his education. He has a keen interest in supporting young and developing players and umpires in the Tararua and Manawatu¯ centre in the future ferns or holiday programmes. Ken umpired the Netball Manawatu¯ Premier One final and he was also the ANZ Premiership umpire in April 2021. As NZ’s youngest International netball umpire, Ken continues to achieve highly at national and international level, resulting in his selection to both Pacific/Aus Netball Series and Commonwealth Games in 2022. ■ Administrator/Volunteer of the Year: Bexx Brown. Bexx has been involved with Bush Senior Rugby since 2018 taking on the role of the club executive. Bex has a passion for rugby and puts her heart and soul into the club. She is currently Bush senior chair and has held that position since 2020. Bex helps the club retain and gain new sponsorships and is a strong advocate for the club. In 2021, Bexx was elected to the Manawatu¯ Club Rugby Executive, in 2022 voted vice-chair. This is a huge achievement especially being a female elected to the board that is predominantly males. This is a huge asset for the Tararua District to have a representative advocating for the community. Bexx attends the majority of games and trainings during the week, she is a committed chair who doesn’t mind helping out where required. Bexx has strong leadership and governance skills, and everyone on the committee has been set clear guidelines of responsibility. ■ Team of the Year: Ngati Kahungunu ki Tamaki Nui a Rua U15 Tama Basketball. Tamaki Nui a Rua U15 team entered the 2021 Ma¯ori Basketball Nationals with high expectations of competing for the championship. During round robin, the team was competing against some of the best individual talent and teams in NZ. The team went through round robin undefeated which advanced them to the championship game against Ahuriri, Ahuriri is a team with all regional players as well as four national representatives. The championship game was competitive with no team taking a lead larger than six points, and with 30 seconds to go Ahuriri had a one-point lead. However, they were able to make two clutch baskets and get a steal which was enough to win the U15 Ma¯ori Basketball Grade for 2021. ■ Community Play/Active Recreation Initiative of the Year: Bush Multi Sports Trust with the Bush Multi-Sports Loose Parts Play Park. After gathering insights to see if a Loose Parts Play Park would be something the children would like, the Tararua recreation adviser at the time, Dee Parkes, and the facility manager presented to the Bush Multisports Board the idea of having a Loose Parts Play Park as part of the facility. At first, there was hesitation from the board on how it would keep the area of the Sale Yard site respectable and for it not to become a dumping ground. From this discussion, it was decided to apply for a garden shed, a boundary fence and employ a local rangatahi to act as caretaker of the park to keep it tidy and mitigate these risks/concerns from the board. The pilot has exceeded the expectation of the board and when driving past the park, members are amazed at the new/different creations that have been made. Piloting this project, which is there to stay, has allowed children to experience play as it was 20 years ago. It is great to see parents being involved in play by helping the tamariki build and play. Often you will drive past and see an adult holding a piece of wood or other items while the tamariki are building creations. These styles of parks, make parents interact with their children. The Loose Parts Play Park is integral to the well-being of children through the social cognitive, physical, and emotional development it provides. ■ Covid-19 Response Award: Central and Southern Hawke’s Bay Show Jumping Club . Owing to many event cancellations, the showjumping group made the decision to hold a “Pop Up” Show in November. Many riders had horses and ponies fit and ready to go. Whether it was a young Pony Club child attending their first show, a young rider working towards their first Pony Grand Prix or an elite rider aiming for their first start in a World Cup round, this event filled the gap where many events had been cancelled. The decision to hold the event was made on October 18 and the event was held on November 6 and 7, 2021. So, in just under three weeks, the group put together a schedule, received sign-off from Equestrian NZ, applied for funding, sourced enough volunteers and made a plan as to how to run under level 2 restrictions. They had 330 riders entered on 543 horses. An extraordinary number considering there were no entries from the north due to level 3 lockdowns. This number reflected the keenness of the riders to be out competing. Gatherings of up to 100 people in a defined space were allowed. The Dannevirke Show Grounds lent itself to be divided into four bubbles of 100 or less, three for camping and stabling and one for day competitors. As competitors arrived on the grounds they scanned into their “bubble” and were to stay in there unless competing. This ended up being a successful event and appreciated by the equestrian community. This was reflected by the number of entries and the good competition that was had. This event was also a benefit to the local community as competitors spent money at supermarkets, motels, garages, vets, and rural outlets to name a few, and it also provided revenue for the Dannevirke A & P Association.