Celebrating century of excellence

What do Jack Lovelock, Michael Laws, Anna Scarlett, Sir Arthur Porritt, Chris Laidlaw, David Kirk, Lorraine Moller have in common? They have each received a Blue from the Otago University Students Association (OUSA).

The Otago University Blues awards turn 100 this year.

The country's oldest university students association also boasts the oldest Blues awards.

The OUSA is hosting a special awards dinner to celebrate at the university on September 20 and is calling on New Zealand to assist it in determining the OUSA sportsperson of the past 100 years.

The public can visit the OUSA website to vote for their favourite from a shortlist of 20.

The Blues originated from the traditional rivalry between Cambridge and Oxford Universities in the United Kingdom where it was thought the Cambridge boat would be improved by the addition of a colour at its bows.

Whether the blue ribbon was chosen because of its Etonian association or was all the haberdasher had at the time is a matter of debate.

All that is known for sure is the year was 1836, and the Blue became an accolade of sporting achievement.

The Blues have been the premier award for sporting achievement by students since 1908 at Otago University.

Awards presented include Blues for individual sporting achievements, the club administrator award, sports club of the year, Maori sportsperson of the year and Otago University sportsperson of the year.

The oldest Blues recipient to be present at the upcoming ceremony will be Miles Hursthouse.

Hursthouse, a retired doctor and current aviation instructor in Nelson, is 88 and won Blues in 1948 and 1950 for shooting.

Moller, bronze medallist in the marathon at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, and All Black great Laidlaw will be guest speakers at the event.