2023 New Zealand Recreation Awards winners announced
On Thursday 2 November, Recreation Aotearoa Te Whai Oranga celebrated some of the best and brightest in the New Zealand recreation industry with the 2023 Recreation Awards.
Over 200 people attended the ceremony, held at Pipitea Marae in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, to celebrate the winners and their impressive contribution to New Zealand’s wider recreation and wellbeing industry.
It’s an honour and a privilege to recognise the work being done by groups and individuals across Aotearoa to support their local communities to be active. Our communities have faced big challenges over the past year, particularly around Cyclone Gabrielle and the effects of climate change on our country. Now, more than ever, it’s important to highlight the benefits that recreation brings to the wellbeing of our people while we acknowledge those who are doing great things in the recreation sector for their communities,” said Recreation Aotearoa Te Whai Oranga Chief Executive, Sarah Murray.
“We’ve had a high calibre of nominations this year. We were particularly proud to see a strong focus on biculturalism, community involvement, sustainability, and inclusion across a wide range of recreation offerings.”
A full list of winners can be found below.
The 2023 New Zealand Recreation Award Winners are:
Outstanding Project – Central Hawke’s Bay District Council and Tamatea hapū – Ngā Ara Tipuna ki Tamatea - Storytelling Trail
A partnership project between Tamatea Hapū and Central Hawke's Bay District Council, Ngā Ara Tipuna is aimed at interpreting and preserving historic Māori sites of significance. This innovative collaboration has strengthened Council’s partnership with mana whenua and brought remarkable social, economic, environmental, and cultural benefits to our community.
Outstanding Event – Active Southland and Inclusive Activity Murihiku – iAM Games
iAM Games is an event for children and young people aged from five to 21 years old. Activities aree designed with physical or intellectual disability, neurodiversity and/or sight and hearing impairments in mind, allowing all participants the opportunity to participate in a wide range of sports and activities.
Oustanding Park – Hastings District Council – Flaxmere Park
Flaxmere Park has undergone vast change over the past decade and now offers a range of facilities for recreation, community sport, fun and relaxation. It has wide appeal, going beyond Flaxmere residents to the wider Hawke’s Bay community, regional sports clubs and domestic and international visitors to the area.
Outstanding Pool – CLM – Ōtahuhu Pool and Leisure Centre
The Ōtāhuhu Pool and Leisure Centre is a vibrant community hub, combining a library, pool, gym and stadium for residents to learn, play and relax. With eight years of operation under its belt, the facility has had a positive impact on the wider Ōtāhuhu community.
Outstanding Recreation Facility – Hastings District Council – Te Pae Whīra o Pā Harakeke Flaxmere Skatepark
Te Pae Whīra o Pā Harakeke opened in December 2022. Designed by the community for the community, Hastings District Council has ensured that the skatepark meets the needs of all users. From inception to completion and now maintenance, they have ensured optimum environmental, social and financial sustainability of this asset.
Outstanding Community Recreation Programme – Recreate NZ – On the Move Programme
Recreate NZ enables quality outdoor education, social and adventure experiences for tamariki and rangatahi with intellectual disabilities. The On the Move Programme is designed to reduce barriers by exploring a variety of exercises and activities in a safe and supportive environment.
Outstanding Research, Planning and Policy – Wellington City Council – Te Whai Oranga Pōneke
Te Whai Oranga Pōneke provides a framework and strategic direction for Wellington City Council to manage and develop public open spaces, recreation facilities and recreation programmes and services over the next 30 years. It’s mission is to support Wellingtonians to live well, and connect to nature and each other.
Paul Stuart Memorial Award – Dave Mckenzie, CLM
The Paul Stuart Memorial Award recognises outstanding personal contribution to the facility management industry.
Highly regarded by his colleagues and wider community, Dave McKenze currently manages two South Island aquatic centres. He has been instrumental in supporting several pools in the greater region to become Poolsafe accredited. His knowledge, and dedication across paid and voluntary work makes him an esteemed figure in facility management and the recreation sector.
Ian Galloway Memorial Cup – Steve Leiataua, Christchurch City Council
The Ian Galloway Memorial Cup recognises outstanding contribution in parks, amenity horticulture and open spaces.
Steve has committed over 40 years’ service to the parks space. In this time, he has helped develop parks in Auckland and Christchurch, often from the ground up - constructing roads, bridges, tracks, and a visitor centre. He has contributed to the advancement of education in recreation and leisure, efforts to encourage conservation, sustainability and efficient use of natural resources, and the safe administration of recreation spaces.
Mark Mitchell Memorial Trophy – Nigel Cox, Christchurch City Council
The Mark Mitchell Memorial Trophy recognises excellence and outstanding personal contribution to the wider recreation industry.
Nigel’s career began over thirty years ago in surf lifesaving; now he heads up a team of over 600 people. Well-regarded for his critical thinking and leadership, Nigel has been involved in large scale events where he has managed and supported recreation staff and communities through World Cup events, natural disaster recovery and repair, major construction projects and terrorist attack response.
Emerging Recreation Leader of the Year – Brittany White, Sport Northland
The Emerging Recreation Leader of the Year award for an individual who demonstrates leadership potential and excels in both paid employment and voluntary service to the recreation sector.
An innovative and participatory young leader, Brittany has made significant contributions to the recreation industry in a short period of time. She has worked to improve systems, processes, stakeholder relationships, commitments to Te Tiriti of Waitangi and outputs in both paid and voluntary roles within the sector.