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.


We are looking for extra members to join our existing judging panel. We welcome volunteers from all sectors of the industry. Judging for the 2021 Recreation Awards will take place from 13 September - 11 October, so the judging panel will need to have some availability during this time to assess and score each nomination.

Do you want to be part of the judging panel? Contact our Awards Co-ordinator now with your CV and a few details about your connection to the industry/your sector and help us celebrate the NZ recreation industry.


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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