Rugby league award to Sharon Bird

By Lindy Laird

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Sharon Bird
Sharon Bird

Whangarei woman Sharon Bird has received a New Zealand Rugby League Achievement award for her dedication to the sport.

Ms Bird was one of five people acknowledged with an achievement award at Monday night's awards ceremony in Auckland.

Having been involved in rugby league for more than 30 years, Ms Bird said she was among friends at the awards but felt "totally honoured".

"I feel blessed to have been part of this beautiful game. I am so honoured and humbled to have received the award, especially after they had acknowledged Kevin Bailey, who was one of my mentors," Ms Bird said.

The evening was also made special because her son, entertainer Luke Bird, had been invited to sing at the awards function. (After his mother received her award, he sang Somebody to Love by Queen.)

Ms Bird got involved with league when she was growing up in sports-mad Portland, and had her first taste of playing in the women's team for the local club in 1978.

She went on to become one of Northland's leading rugby league administrators and advocates, helped set up a Northland-wide competition, organised junior and senior tournaments and was involved in Ngawha prison being included in the local competition.

Normal game days would see her helping mark fields, putting out and taking in goalpost pads, cooking at the sausage sizzles, selling raffles, helping organise the after-game meal and doing official duties at the after-function. On grand final days, she would be out early at Jubilee Park carting a bucket of sand to fill holes and doing other maintenance, being official match manager, helping out at the gate, being time keeper or a car park attendant.

Ms Bird's colleagues say there are probably only two things she hasn't done yet - coach a senior team and drive kids to their game (she doesn't drive).

She has been a Portland Rugby League delegate to the Northland board, and is a Portland life member, Whangarei City and District delegate and chairwoman, Northland delegate to NZRL, official match manager, tournament organiser, draw steward, competition organiser (North wide), judiciary member and Rugby League Northland director.

NZRL spokeswoman Philippa Ivory said Ms Bird was a highly respected, worthy recipient of an award that recognised outstanding service to the game. Distinguished Service medals were also awarded to Richard Bolton, Bob Dragecivich, Graham Lowe and Christine Panapa.

- Northern Advocate

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