The summer break has been a reminder of why the Bay of Plenty is such a great place to live. Whether you were involved in a game of backyard cricket, out on your bike, competing in a triathlon, or just watching cricket at Blake Park, there was something for everyone.

The Port of Tauranga Half Ironman completed its 25th edition, and this event is a great example of how the very best athletes can compete alongside weekend warriors. Cameron Brown, at 41, won his 10th title and is everything you would want in a top athlete; fit, fast and athletic, but more importantly, an all-round good person who is humble and generous with his time. At the other end of the field were Team Bro who took over 10 hours to complete the event and were an inspiration in their own way.

It was great to see the traditional sports also at the forefront, from cricket, who showcased their new facility, to rugby sevens which is further developing as an important opportunity for the Bay. Triathlon is always popular at this time of year as is surf lifesaving and there was plenty to get involved with as a participant, supporter or spectator. One thing in common that all these events have is the need for volunteer support, and it is always humbling to see so many people give up their Christmas holidays to help with these events - on behalf of Sport Bay of Plenty, our heartfelt thanks goes to you all. Not only do you ensure that these events can happen, but you are the face of the Bay of Plenty to our visitors.

This will be my last column as CEO of Sport Bay of Plenty. It goes without saying that I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with Sport Bay of Plenty, and will be forever grateful for the opportunities that have been provided to me through the organisation. In many senses this has been my dream job - to be able work in an industry that I love, to work with great people, and to work towards making a difference to people's lives. I will miss it greatly, but am looking forward to the new challenges that my new role as General Manager of TECT will bring. Thank you to all the people that have made my time at Sport Bay of Plenty so rewarding.