Recreation Awards

The Recreation Awards recognise excellence, innovation, and effectiveness of outstanding activity within the recreation sector as well as the achievement and service of individuals whose commitment and contribution promotes the ongoing development and enhancement of the industry.

These prestigious awards have been held annually since 1991, recognising individuals, organisations, programmes, and facilities that have made exceptional contributions to improving recreation and sport for New Zealanders.

Nominations for the 2021 Recreation Awards are now closed.

The 2021  awards will be presented alongside the Outdoor Awards at Recreation Conference in Nelson on 17 February 2022.

The Recreation Awards are an opportunity for us to recognise excellence, innovation, effectiveness and outstanding activity within the recreation industry as well as the achievement and service of individuals whose commitment and contribution promotes the ongoing development and enhancement of the industry.

Outstanding Awards

  • Outstanding Project
  • Outstanding Pool
  • Outstanding Event
  • Outstanding Park
  • Outstanding Recreation Facility
  • Outstanding Research, Policy & Planning
  • Outstanding Community Recreation Programme

Individual Awards

  • Emerging Recreation Leader of the Year
  • Ian Galloway Memorial Cup
  • Paul Stuart Memorial Award
  • Mark Mitchell Memorial Trophy
Recreation Aotearoa Fellowship Award

This award recognises Recreation Aotearoa members who are regarded as having made a significant contribution to the purpose, aims and work of Recreation Aotearoa. This award calls for an outstanding and sustained contribution.

If you know someone deserving of a Fellowship Award, please contact us.


The 2019 Recreation Awards were presented on 28 November during the Awards Dinner at Recreation Conference, which was in Hamilton 27-29 November.

A full list of 2019 award winners is available below:

  • Outstanding Project Winners - Ngā Puna Wai Sports Hub, Christchurch City Council & Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery, Palmerston North City Council & Community
    Merit - Waterworld Hamilton Marjor Renewals Project 2018, Hamilton City Council; Taiora: QEII Recreation & Sports Centre, Christchurch City Council; Te Auanga/Oakley Creek, Auckland Council & Boffa Miskell; Wanaka Pool, Queenstown Lakes District Council

  • Outstanding Park Winner - Shakespear Regional Park, Auckland Council
    Merit - Ahimate Reserve, Palmerston North City Council & Ohakune Carrot Adventure Park, Ruapehu District Council

  • Outstanding Event Winner - Ara Mai! Te Whiti Rise Night Walk, Hutt City Council

  • Outstanding Community Recreation Programme Winner - Ka whakatipū i te whenua ka ora tatou - Cultivate the land and give life to the people, Auckland Teaching Garden Trust & Auckland Council
    Merit - This is Me® Programme, Sport Waikato; AroOra, Community Leisure Management & Playing Palmy Programme, Heather Knox

  • Outstanding Pool Winner - Lido Aquatic Centre, Community Leisure Management

  • Outstanding Research, Policy & Planning Winner - Hamilton City Council's Play Strategy 2019-2030, Hamilton City Council
  • Paul Stuart Memorial Award - Kirsty Knowles, Community Leisure Management

  • Ian Galloway Cup - Mark Bowater, Auckland Council

  • Emerging Recreation Leader - Hannah Chapman-Carr, Auckland Council

  • Mark Mitchell Memorial Trophy - Steve Gibling, University of Canterbury

  • Fellowship Recipients - Jane Aickin (ARPro), Auckland Council & Fay Freeman, Fay Freeman Associates

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