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Sport Maker winners

Team and hummer 2

Previous team experience winner

Steve & Debbie of Waitakere Bears Softball Club


Elliot Hira for community sport (Team Experience winner)

Elliot is our team experience winner. Thank you to all his supporters that got behind him and voted.

"My nominee is new to our community and also carries the responsibility of our local Police man. In our historical community there's a Primary School, a bowling club, pub, dairy, art galleries, Masonic hall, Ambulance station, Fire station, library, Doctors clinic, community hall and beautiful people, 5 mins down the road a ferry to cross the harbour, yes we're in the Hokianga.

There's not much sporting going on as our community's populations always changing and that had massive affects on our local rugby team, is no longer so that meant less sporting for us to participate in. Some locals donated gym equipment which was kept in the old school and offered to the community for use with a low cost of $5 sadly not many were interested which was the extent of our access to sport where we live.

When nominee moved into town and took up residence in the station i think he learnt fast what positive contributions he could offer as a community member and individual, luckily for us he was a boxer, and an active one. He went and saw our community gym in its environment and decided this was his domain, physical exercise/sport. Our nominee looked into funding but ended up paying out of his own pocket to get equipment and gear, set it all up in his garage and put out a panui, boxing twice a week. Next thing i know all i can hear is children's voices, laughter and the sounds of their footsteps as they warmed up their bodies for the next hours sporting, only it wasn't just children doing a bit of cross fit and learning about method and combinations their parents wanted in too!

Our Nominee is a volunteer because no one pays him and we train for free. Four days a week 1 hour a day is dedicated to our community almost every week regardless of numbers attending. Two days for the children, and two for the older attendees.
We are indeed fortunate to have this man in our community and a part of our community, close communities become family.

I nominate Elliott Hira for being a great sport volunteer and creating the opportunity to many for keeping fit, wellness and encouragement in our little Far North community as a thank you for volunteering yourself and time to teach/give a community sport."

Karen Gibbons of the Hibiscus Coast Raiders Rugby League Club (North Harbour)

Thank you to everyone that got behind Karen and voted. Here is her nomination:

"We are small league club on the Hibiscus Coast with 10 junior teams and 7 senior teams. Karen deals with registrations, inputting of players, ID cards, meetings, complaints, and is at the club every Saturday all day watching games. She bags up ice on Saturday mornings. Helps set up fields. Helps behind our bar. She is the chairperson of our club.

She works full time and has no boys playing at the club anymore but loves the sport so much she is dedicated to the club. She has helped to senior colleges with playing jerseys. She is one hell of a women."

Patricia Lai of Stir Fry touch team (Auckland City)

Thank you to everyone that got behind Patricia and voted. Here is her nomination:

"Year after year, Patricia organises our touch rugby and turbo touch teams for the Stir Fry club. Stir Fry currently has around 100 members, both past and present. The majority of its members are NZ Chinese; Stir Fry is an important part of the Auckland Chinese community as it connects us together in a different context and through our passion for sports. We do not pay a fee to be a part of this club nor do we receive funding, which means that everything Patricia does is purely voluntary and for her love of the sport. She is always kind, welcoming and willing to share her knowledge of the sport by teaching others, whether they are our newest members or more seasoned players. Patricia not only puts in a significant amount of work behind the scenes, she also leads by example on the field.

Heather McLeod of the Bombay Netball Club (Counties Manukau)

Thank you to everyone that got behind Heather and voted. Here is her nomination:

"Heather does so much for our premier netball team. Super manager to say the least. Whether it's a tissue, strapping, ice, or a hug she's there. She puts so much time and effort into our team and the whole club she's just an amazing person. A mum to all.

BNZ Bombay Prems would be nothing without her! She helped lead us to win the Pukekohe netball premier gold competition in 2016, and we are on our way again.
Not only is she amazing for our team, she does so much within the committee and the Bombay community itself.

Heather is always there to support us, win or lose we can always count on her to cheer us on. We love you Mumma bear!"

Leif Renell of the Papakura City AFC (Counties Manukau)

Thank you to everyone that got behind Leif and voted. Here is his nomination:

Leif is one of the fantastic volunteers at the Papakura City Football Club.  He took over the very important position of Groundsman mid season last year and insisted on taking nothing for his trouble despite an honorarium being on offer.  

Leif is at the club looking after the grounds almost every day of the week both during and in the off season.  He marks the pitches, takes down his quad bike to move goals around as required, he coaches, he plays and he is the go to person for community field bookings of which there are many requests.  

Leif has a positive "can do" attitude with only the best interests of the club and it's members at heart.  He has worked hard with a top coach to get  a top quality school holiday football programme at the club and while it's been running this week he has while on holiday cleaned up vandalised signs around the ground, repaired damage caused by vandals and generally cleaned up around the place.  His efforts are truly appreciated by many across the club."

David Massey of Rotorua Bootcamp Challenge (BOP)

Thank you to everyone that got behind David and voted. Here is his nomination:

"David runs RGC Rotorua group challenge bootcamp.  He volunteers his time twice a week and on weekends to put 360 people through their paces at bootcamp.  Weighs, measures and pinch tests all participants and at end of 12 week challenge winner takes the share of proceeds due to them ... 3 different categories for males and females.   the entry fee which is $20 for 12 weeks.  He doesn't keep any.  It's done on body weight percentage so anyone can win.  

Spends countless hours posting to our Facebook page encouraging everyone.  He has made a huge difference to loads of people in Rotorua.  He organizes family events too and is so inspiring."

Eric Craill of the Poverty Bay Bowling Club (Gisborne)

Thank you to everyone that got behind Eric and voted. Here is his nomination:

"Eric has volunteered between 10 and 20 hours over the month of March.  He has been volunteering for 10+ years at the Poverty Bay Bowling Club.  Eric is 87 years young and is well known around all the bowling greens in Gisborne.  

Eric gives up his time to mark out the greens, and to assist with fundraising.  He fixes this and that over the season and at tournaments he puts out the gear, scoreboards, mats etc for other members in order for them to play.  He then puts all the gear back away in the shed.  Eric at his age is still very competitive on the green, and plays a mean bowl.  

He is well liked amongst around all the bowlers and clubs for his work and humour."

Marlene Ingram of Amateur Swim Club (Tasman)

Thank you to everyone that got behind Marlene and voted. Here is her nomination:

"Marlene has been a volunteer swim coach at our Amateur swim club since at least 1969.  This year following the quake here in Kaikoura, we lost our main swimming pool.  A pop up one was delivered and we had to try and salvage our swimming coaching.  

Despite everything she went through, she contacted all 120 swim club kids to advise of the mofified programme and set about reorganising the coaching schedule.  Despite her house being damaged, she still organised it all and ran her coaching programme.  She's our star.  We couldn't do without her."

Tony van Gorp of Rosyln Wakari AFC (Otago)

Thank you to everyone that got behind TVG and voted.Here is his nomination:

Tony (know as TVG) volunteers at Roslyn Wakari AFC and is invloved across the club at all levels. 

TVG coaches both of my cousins' all girls junior football teams and is our Men's First Team manager. This means that TVG is down at the club on a Wednesday night coaching two all girls teams as well as being at our men's trainings on a Tuesday and Thursday evening. In between these times he can be found at the club dropping his daughter off to her Women's First Team trainings. On top of this, Tony puts up and takes down all of the nets at Ellis Park before and after each weekend.

From 9:00am Saturday morning, TVG is on the side of a football pitch right through to 4:30pm when the Men's First Team finishes (trying to watch some of his daughter's Womens First Team game in between). After cleaning up our changing rooms and packing all the dirty kit into his ute he is then into the Roslyn Wakari clubrooms and is one of the last to leave.

TVG is a great asset for Roslyn Wakari AFC as it is rare to have coaches who are involved in Junior Football that do not have a child in the team. For a person to coach two teams with no family involved is extra rare. He makes for an enjoyable environment for junior players - one of my cousins didn't have the best experience playing in a boys team last year at another club but is thriving in an all girls team under Tony's coaching this year.

For our Men's First Team, TVG is the guy who makes everything flow - from being the first person at the ground setting up our changing room, having the half time lollies organised, to applying strapping tape those in need last minute prior to the game - if you need something, Tony is your man!

Tony goes up and beyond what is required, having organised and shouted us pizza on two occasions recently. He does this expecting nothing in return. This is all to help ensure an enjoyable environment for us as a team as well as welcoming the new players for the year.

Because TVG is so reliable and has helped everyone out for so long at Roslyn Wakari AFC, his importance is something that can often be overlooked as he just does what is needed without fuss. So far this year, I have felt that this is especially the case for us in the Men's First Team and it would be great that Tony's efforts and sacrifices were recognised!"

Andrew Jolly of Wakatipu Rowing Club (Otago)

Thank you to everyone that got behind Jock and voted. Here is his nomination:

"Andrew (better known as 'Jock') has spent several years volunteering as a rowing coach with the Wakatipu Rowing Club in Queenstown. As well as having a family of 3 & a full time job, Jock devotes a huge amount of his time & energy into supporting both the sport of rowing & the teenagers of Queenstown who pursue the sport. His role is not just that of a coach, it's councillor, & friend, but his most important role is that of developing respectful decent human beings.

Jock is a good Kiwi guy who devotes his time to something he believes in, he expects nothing in return, & for this & for the contribution he makes to our community & our youngsters I think he should be recognised."



Steve and Debbie - team experience winners (December 2016)

Meet Steve & Debbie Hitakaiwai of the Waitakere Bears Softball Club our latest 'Thank a Sport Maker' team experience winners. 

Steve and Debbie having been volunteering at the club for over 10 years as manager and coach. This dynamic duo go above and beyond for their team and really bring out the best in their players - they just won Auckland Grand Final for their age group!

As winner's of the team experience prize, Lotto NZ organised a team trip so that they could have bit of fun! The day kicked off with a few games of paintball in Woodhill forest. This was followed by a team lunch at a local orchard to refuel before we surprised the team with a luxury hummerzine ride around Auckland.


Nevo Simanu - team experience winner (August)

Nevo has been a volunteer volleyball coach at Sacred Heart College for over 10 years. He gives up 20 hours a week training four teams on top of his normal full time job, as well as fundraising for uniforms and trips away for the girls.

A team reunion was organised for Nevo, where past and present volleyballers came together for an afternoon of food, fun and games!


Dallas Storer — team experience winner (April 2016)

Sport Maker winner Dallas Storer (centre) was nominated for his extraordinary efforts in transforming unused land in his community into BMX track and skate park for everyone to enjoy. 

Being the humble man Dallas is, he wanted his team experience to be about giving back so we organised a club day for everyone in the community to enjoy.

Dallas was presented with his Sport Maker award by BMX NZ Sportswoman of the Year Caitlin Georgantas along with some new bikes and gear for his BMX Club. Spot prizes were given out and everyone enjoyed a BBQ and delicious cake before getting out on the track to show off their skills.  


Jason King — team experience winner (November 2015)

Sport Maker Jason King was nominated by multiple people thanking him for his voluntary work with the First Kicks Whanganui football programme. Jason has been running the programme for the past four years on Saturday mornings at Wembley Park.  

As a part of Jason's team experience prize, Wellington Phoenix players Ben Sigmund and Lewis Italiano came along and did some training drills with the kids for an afternoon of football fun. 


Kara Hodge — team experience winner (August 2015)

Kara Hodge received a Sport Maker award and an ultimate team experience for his inspirational commitment to the Tokoroa High School Girls 1st XV team.

A renowned rugby league man of 20 years, he has been known to watch YouTube for rugby moves, rules and game plans and often finishes work early to hold team trainings. The support from Kara and his wife, Ange, who is also the team manager, means the girls always have transport to games and meals at the ready, no questions asked. He has taught the girls to support each other, work as a team and respect their opposition no matter what the outcome and takes very little credit for their success. 

Kara' s team experience was a team trip to Rotorua, where the team had some fun on the zipline, luge and gondola followed by some relaxation in the hot pools. 



2013 winners

2014 winners

2015 winners