Hamish Bond and Eric Murray have taken the top prize at the Halberg Awards at Auckland's Vector Arena last night.
The outstanding men's rowing pair, who finished boat lengths ahead of their closest rivals at the London Olympic Games, were named Team of the Year before claiming the Halberg Award honours.
To win the supreme award, Bond and Murray headed off the evening's other Halberg Award winners - fellow rower and New Zealand Sportsman of the Year winner Mahe Drysdale, Sportswoman of the Year winner Valerie Adams and Disabled Sportsperson of the Year winner Sophie Pascoe.
Adams, who won Olympic shot put gold after her main rival Nadzeya Ostupchuk was disqualified for testing positive to a banned substance, edged fellow Sportswoman of the Year contenders Lisa Carrington, who won Olympic gold in the kayak, and Lydia Ko, the 15-year-old golfer who has had an incredible past 18 months.
Both Carrington, who triumphed in the 200m K1 event, and Ko had excellent claims on the title.
Ko, the youngest winner in professional golf history when she won the NSW Open title, carried on her achievements today (Thurs) when breaking the course record to take an early first-round lead at the Australian Open at Royal Canberra. Last week she became the first Kiwi to win the New Zealand Women's Open, although her recent achievements fell outside the judging period.
Ko picked up the Emerging Talent award at the awards, which are sponsored by Westpac.
The Halberg Award was presented to Bond and Murray by golfing great Sir Bob Charles, the first athlete to win the trophy in 1963.
It was a big night for rowing, with coach Dick Tonks also claiming victory in the Coach of the Year category.
Drysdale, who won Olympic gold in the men's single sculls in London, beat All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, world No1-ranked equestrian Andrew Nicolson and cyclist Simon van Velthooven to the Sportsman of the Year award.
Pascoe took the honours for securing three gold medals and three Silvers at the Paralympic Games in London last year.
Rowing pair Joseph Sullivan and Nathan Cohen won the award for New Zealand's favourite sporting moment with their heart-stopping race at Eton Dorney when they mowed down the competition to come from behind and claim New Zealand's first gold medal of the Olympics in the double sculls.
Yachting champion Bruce Kendall and former New Zealand rugby and cricket representative Jeff Wilson were inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame. They were presented with their awards by Sir John Walker and Sports Hall of Fame governor Bryan Williams.
Patron and life member of Athletics New Zealand, Arthur Eustace, was presented with the Lion Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. As an athlete, Eustace won his first New Zealand championship title in 1945 when he was 19 and went on to win seven more New Zealand titles in sprints and hurdles.
Sir John Wells received the Sport New Zealand Leadership Award for his services to sport. Sir John's achievements include paving the way for the Triathlon World Championship Grand Final in Auckland last year, the Auckland stopover of the 2012 Volvo Ocean Race, and the 2007 Netball World Championships in Christchurch.
Voting for the 50th Westpac Halberg Awards was carried out by an academy of 30 sporting journalists, coaches and former sporting greats.
The 2012 finalists and winners:
2012 Halberg Award:
Winner: New Zealand's Men's Pair, Hamish Bond and Eric Murray (Rowing)
Finalists: Mahe Drysdale (High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportsman of the Year), Valerie Adams (High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year), Sophie Pascoe (Halberg Disability Sport Foundation Disabled Sportsperson of the Year), Hamish Bond and Eric Murray (Westpac Team of the Year)
High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportsman of the Year:
Winner: Mahe Drysdale (Rowing)
Finalists: Mahe Drysdale (Rowing), Richie McCaw (Rugby), Andrew Nicholson (Equestrian), Simon van Velthooven (Cycling)
High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year:
Winner: Valerie Adams (Athletics)
Finalists: Valerie Adams (Athletics), Lisa Carrington (Canoeing), Lydia Ko (Golf), Sarah Walker (BMX)
Halberg Disability Sport Foundation Disabled Sportsperson of the Year:
Winner: Sophie Pascoe (Para-swimming)
Finalists: Mary Fisher (Para-swimming), Cameron Leslie (Para-swimming), Sophie Pascoe (Para-swimming), Phillipa Gray (Para-cycling)
Westpac New Zealand Team of the Year:
Winner: Men's Pair, Hamish Bond and Eric Murray (Rowing)
Finalists: All Blacks (Rugby), NZ Men's 49er Class Team - Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (Yachting), NZ Men's Double Scull - Joseph Sullivan and Nathan Cohen (Rowing), NZ Men's Pair - Eric Murray & Hamish Bond (Rowing), NZ Women's 470 Team - Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (Yachting)
SKY Sport Coach of the Year:
Winner: Richard (Dick) Tonks (Rowing),
Finalists: Calvin Ferguson (Rowing), Nathan Handley (Sailing), Gordon Walker (Canoeing), Richard (Dick) Tonks (Rowing)
Westpac Emerging Talent Award:
Winner: Lydia Ko (Golf)
Finalists: Anton Cooper (Mountain biking), Dylan Kennett (Track cycling), Lydia Ko (Golf), Andrew McKenzie (Yachting)
Sports Hall of Fame Induction: Bruce Kendall (Yachting) and Jeff Wilson (Rugby, Cricket)
The Lion Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award: Patron and Life Member of Athletics New Zealand, Arthur Eustace.
Sport New Zealand Leadership Award: Sir John Wells.
New Zealand's Favourite Sporting Moment: Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan
Finalists: NZ Breakers - Win second straight NBL Championship, Bay of Plenty Magic - Become first NZ team to win Netball Championship, Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan - Storm from behind to win Olympic Gold, Mahe Drysdale - wins Olympic Gold, Lisa Carrington - wins Olympic Gold, Valerie Adams - Gets her Olympic Gold in the end, Levi Sherwood - Wins the Red Bull X-Fighters Motorcross Series.