She won gold at the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup and was awarded MVP with a hat trick in the finals against England – a feat unknown by a prop in the history of New Zealand rugby.
 
Christian Vano was named Coach of the Year for the outstanding achievements coaching the U13 Boys A Team at the New Zealand national basketball tournament, and his local U13 team won the Waikato country nationals.
 
Sport Waikato South Waikato District Coordinator Lisa Mansell was very pleased with the high caliber of nominations, finalists and winners this year.
 
“We have had an amazing spread of talent across all categories this year, and it’s great to see the hard work and determination from all our sportspeople really paying off. And those sportspeople could not do what they do without the fantastic support of the many talented coaches, administrators, officials and supporters,” Mansell said.
 
Eligible winners are now considered for the Brian Perry Waikato Regional Sports Awards on Thursday 1st February, 2018 at the Claudelands Conference and Event Centre, Hamilton.
 

2017 winners:


Service to Sport: Don Hughes, Jenny McKenzie, Kim Kiwara, Ron Carter, Tania (TC) Rata
Administrator of the Year: Sue Conroy
Coach of the Year: Christian Vano
Team of the Year: Pockets Ladies Team
Junior Sportswoman: Tyra Begbie
Junior Sportsman: Matthew Letoga
Sportsperson of the Year: Toka Irere Te Openga Natua
Club of the Year: Nga Hau E Wha Whanau Hoe Inc
Official of the Year: Colin Davey
Sporting Personality of the Year: Toka Irere Te Openga Natua
Secondary School Contribution to Sport: Georgia Wood


Summary of winners:


Administrator of the Year: Sue Conroy
Sue keeps the whole Nga Hau e Wha Whanau Waka Ama club moving at a pace of continual achievement. She plans, designs action plans and implements as well as being a key communicator via grassroots, regional and national bodies. Sue is an extremely proficient administrator, also known as the “Waka Ama” Lady by many students.
 
Coach of the Year: Christian Vano
Christian loves the game of basketball, and puts in as much time as he can whether it’s coaching or refereeing to the point of dreaming of basketball. Players listen intently to Christian’s clear, practical and precise coaching message. Christian was selected to coach the region’s U13 Boys A Team at the New Zealand national tournament. His local U13 team won the Waikato country nationals and placed second out of 79 teams at the national AIMS games.
 
Official of the Year: Colin Davey
Colin has been an official in many sporting codes for over ten years. Colin has gained Waikato Level 3 which has extended his travelling area in the Waikato region. His knowledge is not confined to rugby as he also volunteers his time to referee for Tag NZ, Rugby League Waicoa and Bay of Plenty competitions.
 
Team of the Year: Pockets Ladies Team
Hazel Cook, Tatum Manning and Camellia Cook make up the Pockets Ladies Team. Together they took out the Clubs New Zealand Ladies National 8 Ball Pairs, where 54 pairs competed. This team also completed a clean sweep to gain first and second place in the Ladies North Island 8 Ball Champs.
 
Club of the Year: Nga Hau E Wha Whanau Hoe Inc
Waka Ama is a growing sport in the South Waikato district, having extended to dragon boating. The club has recently completed its four-year strategic plan, marketing and promotional plan, applications for funding and club structure. The club caters for everyone, engaging youth in a sport that develops future leaders.
 
Junior Sportswoman of the Year: Tyra Begbie
Tyra has had a busy year attending the Upper North Island secondary school netball tournament, the North Island Secondary School talent ID for sevens rugby, playing in the Waikato Secondary School U18 Rugby team, captaining the Putaruru College U18 Girls Sevens team and coaching the Putaruru College Year 7 and 8 Touch team. 
 
Junior Sportsman of the Year: Matthew Letoga
Matthew continues to work hard year after year. This year he played in the Chiefs Rugby U18 team, playing in the Waikato rugby age groups. Matthew portrays high leadership qualities in the community working alongside other youth. 
 
Sportsperson of the Year & Sporting Personality of the Year: Toka Irere Te Openga Natua
Toka won gold at the 2017 Women’s Rugby world cup; she was a member of the Waikato regional rugby team placings second in New Zealand, a member of the 2016 England & Ireland tour and the 2017 New Zealand tour. At the world cup she was awarded MVP with a hat trick in the finals against England, a feat unknown by a prop in the history of New Zealand rugby. Toka spends a lot of timing giving back to the community through youth mentoring and instructing at Limitless, wanting a fitter, healthier community.
 
Secondary School Contribution to Sport: Georgia Wood
Georgia umpires netball, touch and Rippa Rugby. She is involved with interschool activities including athletics, cross country, winter codes and swimming sports. Outside of school she helps at community events like the Water Festival. Georgia has consistently demonstrated a positive attitude.
 
Service to Sport: Don Hughes 
Don is a man of few words, and even more of a humble person. Whatever needs to be done in the community Don is always there with a huge smile and willingness to help. Don’s passion is with basketball where he has developed basketball in Putaruru over the last 30 plus years.  Don played a big part in building the Putaruru stadium.  Even though he has recently retired to Tauranga he always makes a trip back to Putaruru every Thursday for his golf fix and checking up on things.  The Putaruru community misses him greatly but wish him well and they thank him for his contribution in building a positive and vibrant sporting community. 
 
Service to Sport: Jenny McKenzie
Jenny has offered a wealth of knowledge and commitment to the Putaruru community with netball in particular over the last 20 years plus.  Jenny has held every role in the netball association. She has seen the club and the sport change over the years, helping the club and individuals grow, change and become resilient to adapt to the changing times in the sporting world of netball. 
 
Service to Sport: Ron Carter 
Ron is patron, life member and past president of the Putaruru Squash Club and Bay of Plenty Squash Association.  Ron was instrumental in helping to build the Putaruru Squash Club as well as starting the masters tournament in in the Bay of Plenty.  Through many years Ron has nurtured and developed squash players who he has seen grow, perform on a high stage and then start passing that knowledge on. 
 
Service to Sport: Tania Rata (TC)
Tania is a very energetic and proactive patron of all sports in the Putaruru community.  TC actively coaches, referees, mentors and supports individuals and families to be the best they can be.  Putaruru is very fortunate to have someone like TC to advocate the best outcomes in sports, green spaces and facilities for the community. 

Photos from the night here
Winners photos here

Toka Irere Te Openga Natua takes out two titles at the Mercury South Waikato District Sports Awards

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