2020/21 Recreation Award Winners


Recreation Aotearoa have presented the 2020/2021 Recreation Awards to industry professionals around the country. The awards took place online on 6 April 2022, after two years of delay due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“It felt great to finally be able to honour the incredible people and projects within Aotearoa’s recreation sector. There has been a high calibre of work taking place over the last few years, even with the disruption of COVID-19, and it feels more important than ever to celebrate these successes,” said Andrew Leslie, Recreation Aotearoa CEO.

Ten awards were presented, including six Outstanding Awards and four Individual Awards.

Outstanding Awards were given to the following:

  • Outstanding Project – The winner was Hutt City Council for the development and delivery of Play in the Hutt. A Merit Award was given to Selwyn District Council for the Selwyn Sports Centre.
  • Outstanding Event – The winner was Harakeke Down South for the Murihiku Matariki Festival. Christchurch City Council received a Merit Award for the 2021 Walking Festival.
  • Outstanding Park – The winner was Invercargill City Council’s Queens Park.
  • Outstanding Pool – The winner was Belgravia Leisure’s Trust House Recreation Centre in Masterton.
  • Outstanding Community Recreation Programme -  The winner was Wellington City Council for their LeisureCard. Two Merit Awards were given to Sport Waikato for their This is ME® programme, and Gap Filler for Placemaking at One Central.
  • Outstanding Research, Planning, and Policy – The winner was Invercargill City Council for Our Trees – A Tatou Rākau, their 2020 tree plan.
The recipients of the 2020/2021 Individual Awards were
  • Paul Stuart Memorial Award for services to facility management – Nigel Skelt of ILT Stadium Southland.
  • Ian Galloway Memorial Cup for services to the wider parks industry – Sally Sheedy of Waipā District Council.
  • Mark Mitchell Memorial Trophy for services to the wider recreation industry – Brendon McDermott of Active Southland.
  • Emerging Recreation Leader of the Year – Elise Yule of Xyst.

Richard Lindsay of Recreation Sport & Leisure Consultancy was made a Recreation Aotearoa Fellow. The Fellowship is presented to Recreation Aotearoa members who are regarded as having made a significant contribution to the purpose, aims and work of Recreation Aotearoa.

Jamie Delich was also recognised on the night, becoming a Recreation Aotearoa Life Member. Delich has been a recreation leader for decades, contributing to the parks, aquatics, and community recreation sectors. His career has spanned across local council, including Wellington City Council and Kāpiti Coast District Council, and government departments like Sport New Zealand. Delich has been a mentor to many people in the industry and has always generously shared his knowledge and expertise, making him a worthy recipient of the Life Member Award.

The New Zealand Recreation Awards have been running for over 20 years and have become an important way for Recreation Aotearoa and the rest of New Zealand to celebrate the work and people within the various recreation fields.

View a full list of the nominees.

Watch the full Awards Ceremony

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