Taurua up for Maori award

By Greg Taipari

Rotorua local and Magic netball coach Noeline Taurua has been nominated for coach of the year award at this year's Maori Sports Awards.

Taurua, who led her team to New Zealand's first ANZ Championship, is up against Silver Ferns national netball coach Waimarama Taumaunu and Highlanders Super rugby coach Jamie Joseph for the Maori sports coach of the year.

Ohope Olympic gold medallist Lisa Carrington is up for the women's top award, while Rotorua's Liam Messam has also been nominated for senior Maori sportsman of the year for his efforts with the Chiefs, who won their first Super Rugby title, and his work with the All Blacks. And world champion waka ama paddler George Thomas has been nominated in the disabled Maori sports person of the year award.

A total of 22 Olympians, three Paralympians, 10 world champions and four world champion teams will vie for top honours at the 2012 Maori Sports Awards on November 24 at Manukau's TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre.

Carrington and Paralympic swimmer Cameron Leslie, as well as bronze medal winner Storm Uru, are among the finalists and recipients in contention for the supreme title - the Albie Pryor Memorial Maori Sports Person of the Year.

The 22nd awards ceremony will be hosted by Te Tohu Taakaro o Aotearoa Charitable Trust and executive director Dick Garratt says the record number of Maori athletes achieving on the world stage over the past year is testament to the vision of the event's founder, the late Albie Pryor.

In 1991, Pryor (Ngati Awa) established the black-tie extravaganza to promote and encourage Maori in the pursuit of sporting excellence. He later expanded the brief to identify and support young Maori talent so they could achieve at Olympic, Commonwealth and international competitions.

"Albie would be proud of the window of opportunity that he has created for our Maori youth, sports people and organisations - as well as the general public of Aotearoa-New Zealand," says Mr Garratt.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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