Olympic gold medallist Lisa Carrington has won the supreme award at this year's Waiariki Institute of Technology 2012 Bay of Plenty Sports Awards.
The annual award was presented to the sprint kayaker via video after she was unable to attend due to another commitment.
Carrington, who won gold in the K1 200m event at this year's London Olympics, said she was "rapt" to receive the award.
"It's exciting to win it, you spend so long just preparing and carrying on the journey. It's nice to look back on the experience of this last year-and-a-half. It's great that it paid off."
Carrington also received the BNZ Sportswoman of the Year award for the second year in a row, leading an outstanding field of category recipients including Olympic silver medallist in sailing Peter Burling (Bayleys Real Estate Sportsman of the Year), Olympic rowing gold medallist Mahe Drysdale (EastPack International Athlete of the Year), New Zealand representative in judo Monique Dekkers (Eves Realty Junior Sportswoman of the Year), All Black Sam Cane (APR Consultants Junior Sportsman of the Year), internationally-recognised referee in canoe slalom Kay Dawson (MoreFM Official of the Year), vibrant and growing Te Puke Sports and Recreation Club (Sport New Zealand Club of the Year), and joint winners the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic and the Chiefs (Bay SportsMed Open Team of the Year).
Judging panel member Craig Tiriana said it was the hard work, commitment and determination from all the sporting champions which impressed the panel.
"Once again it has been a hard task for the panel to sit down and pour through the incredible achievements of our sporting achievers. It doesn't seem to matter how long you have been involved with the process, every year presents major discussion and challenges for the judges.
"This year has been one of the toughest yet to judge and while there has to be winners, we are in awe of all the efforts of the nominees, finalists and champions.
"They are truly representative of a varied and high-achieving sporting landscape we have in the Bay of Plenty region."
The gala evening to present the awards was held in the Rotorua Energy Events Centre.
It brought the region together to recognise and celebrate outstanding achievement by Bay of Plenty athletes, coaches and officials over the last year.
Carrington's award was well deserved, in 2011 the former Ohope local became the first New Zealand woman to win a world championship title at the ICF World Canoe Sprint World Championships in the K1 200m event. The result secured her berth at this year's Olympics where she won her gold medal.
Burling scooped his sportsman of the year award after the silver medallist became the youngest New Zealand sailor to win an Olympic medal in the 49er class event.
Five-times world champion Drysdale picked up the international athlete of the year for the second year running after his gold medal performance in London.
Although currently on tour with the All Blacks, Reporoa local Cane was recognised for his efforts in rugby with the junior sportsman of the year. His debut for the All Blacks impressed the judges along with his selection to the Chiefs rugby franchise.
Judo exponent Dekkers won silver at the Oceania Junior Judo championships and her selection for New Zealand to compete at the world cup this month in Samoa helped to secure the junior sportswoman of the year award.