Southland Sports awards celebrate 70th anniversary

Tori Peeters
Tori Peeters
A star-studded lineup of finalists has been confirmed for this year’s Southland Sports Awards.

The annual event, which is presented by Active Southland on behalf of the Southland Amateur Sports Trust, is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.

Southland Amateur Sports Trust trustee Toni Green said it was inspirational to read the list of achievements by Southlanders on the national and international stage from the past 12 months.

"It’s never an easy job for the judging panel and this year was no exception. There were so many great nominations from across a wide range of sports," Green said.

"The calibre was so high that there were unsuccessful nominations that would have won their respective categories in other years."

Active Southland chief executive Vanessa Hughey-Pol said the awards were a highlight of the year.

"This is a tradition which has stood the test of time as New Zealand’s longest-running regional sports awards and we are proud to present it on behalf of the sports sector," she said.

"Sport plays a vital role in the wellbeing of our community and these awards create an opportunity to tell some great stories, not only about inspirational achievement, but also great work that sports are doing to make a difference in the community."

There has been a small change to this year’s awards, with the official and administrator categories being blended back together after a couple of years as separate awards.

Administrator of the year sponsor BDO has been retained as the sponsor of the prestigious Services to Sport honours, which are unveiled on the night of the awards.

This year’s awards are being held on June 7 at the Ascot Park Hotel in Invercargill.


Senior Sportsperson of the Year: Sheldon Bagrie-Howley (bowls), Ethan de Groot (rugby), Amy du Plessis (rugby), Kate Heffernan (netball), Tori Peeters (athletics), Leon Samuels (shearing), Tom Sexton (cycling), Corbin Strong (cycling)

Junior Sportsperson of the Year: Cormac Buchanan (motorsport), Alex Crosbie (motorsport), Benji Culhane (hockey), Marshall Erwood (cycling), Kiseki Fifita (rugby), Caitlin Kelly (cycling), Fynn Mitchell (adventure racing), Jack Taylor (rugby)

Southland Team of the Year: FEAR Youth (adventure racing), Gore Interclub bowls, Southern Lads (multisport), Southland Boys’ High School first XV (rugby)

Coach of the Year: Shaun Cantwell (athletics), Jason Dermody (rugby), Julian Ineson (cycling), Lance Smith (athletics).

Official of the Year: Erin Criglington (cycling), Nicky McNaught (squash), Pete Pasco (cricket), Cassie Watt (rugby)

Masters Achievement of the Year: Dwight Grieve (athletics), Greg Houkamau (touch), Gail Kirkman (athletics), Julie O’Connell (bowls), Ruth Whelan (cycling)

Community Impact Award: Inclusive Activity Murihiku, Kā Taoka i Tuku Iho Charitable Trust, Southern Queens Boxing, Southland Triathlon and Multisport Club