The 53rd Halberg Awards kicked off last week in typical fashion - red carpet, glam outfits and the sporting world's latest and greatest stars. The charity auction, raising funds for the Halberg Disability Foundation auctioned off several amazing experiences with some of the sports stars themselves, and in an odd twist, finished with an auction for "nothing".
With time to spare before the awards officially began, the auctioneer decided to try his luck with the room, opening the bid for "nothing" at $500.
Unbelievably, bids came rolling in thick and fast until the hammer finally dropped at $5000, leaving the winner feeling undoubtedly very charitable.
No New Zealand award ceremony would be complete without the obligatory congratulations to the other finalists and the typical Kiwi banter.
This year Steve Hansen took the cake, giving a shout out to the "room full of good buggers and buggeresses" before joking that winning coach of the year was largely down to the All Black players making him look good.
Cricketing star Grant Elliott also got a Kiwi toast from coach Mike Hesson, who said he had never seen so much "manlove" as when Elliott or "the hairy javelin" as he's known, had hit the six that got the Black Caps through to their first world cup final.
Although Halberg Awards namesake Murray Halberg was not able to attend the awards due to recovering from surgery, the former Olympian would be pleased with the calibre of another fantastic awards evening.
Microsoft is the latest organisation to add its sponsorship to the Halberg Awards, teaming up as the technology partner and sponsor of the Team of the Year category.
The company also provided Microsoft Surface devices on the night so guests could vote for the Sporting Moment of the Year category. Microsoft New Zealand chief executive Barrie Sheers said the partnership with the awards was a logical one, with technology an increasing part of people's lives and of events such as the Halbergs.
"There [was] a real sense of excitement around the favourite sporting moment category, so I think people [would have] experienced that excitement again by voting mere minutes before the winner was announced," Sheers said, adding that technology was a major part of events and would continue to be.
ANZ has again come out for Pride Week, kicking off with a Pride breakfast at its Ponsonby branch, emceed by Colin Mathura-Jeffree and with staff dressing up for the occasion.
The breakfast also served as a chance to unveil the transformation of the branch in Auckland, which had been turned into an art installation for the festival.
The branch has been covered with 200 panels created by New Zealand intermedia artist Shannon Novak. Last year the bank launched it's rhinestone covered GAYTM's, which it is continuing this year, with the addition of special customer receipts displaying messages of pride and support for the festivals.
All proceeds from the use of non-ANZ cards would be given to OUTline - a not-for-profit counselling service that supports people dealing with gender and sexuality issues. The bank also entered an ANZ float in this year's Pride Parad.
Hot on the heels of bringing talk show queen Oprah Winfrey to New Zealand, global health and wellness brand Swisse is pushing its brand in New Zealand, announcing a partnership with Auckland Racing Club, as the newest named sponsor of the Auckland Cup Carnival.
The brand is also sponsoring Derby Day and Auckland Cup Day, as well as presenting the new Swisse Wellness Trophy on Auckland Cup Day with $50,000 in prize money.
Swisse director of marketing and sales Michael Howard said the brand had experienced significant growth in the New Zealand market in the last year and was committed to investing more in its brand in the country.
"We are delighted to partner with Auckland Racing Club to support such a prestigious event on the New Zealand calendar and are very excited to welcome guests into our Swisse marquee for the first time this year," he said.
"We see this partnership as the start of several exciting plans we have in place for the brand in New Zealand this year."
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