In a revamped version of the New Zealand Sport and Recreation Awards, Waikato man Andrew Corkill has been awarded the Susie Simcock Future Leadership scholarship for his work with Sport Waikato.

Scheduled to be held in Hamilton in June, the awards were cancelled due to Covid-19, with the winners to be confirmed via announcements between now and mid-September.

In a special dedication, one of the awards - the Future Leaders' Scholarship - was renamed in honour of the late Susie Simcock. Susie is remembered for her exemplary leadership qualities and her role in mentoring young leaders for many decades, right across the sector.

The scholarship celebrates, promotes and encourages the work of young emerging leaders in the sector.

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A proud Waikato 'product' growing up in Matamata, Corkill is extremely passionate about both the people in his region and the physical and intrinsic benefits that physical activity provides.

Since arriving as the general manager, people and communities, in 2017, Corkill quickly made a significant impact by challenging the status quo. He led his team through transformation amid a restructure upon his arrival and rejuvenated and inspired his team to join the 'northbound train' that is Sport Waikato's 10-year strategic plan - "Moving Waikato 2025".

He has successfully led large teams toward common goals while instigating change across programmes to focus on the 'why' and 'how'.

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Prior to joining Sport Waikato, Corkill forged an impressive territorial authority career that included stints with the Matamata Piako District Council, Hamilton City Council and Waikato District Council over a nine-year period.

Outside of his direct work, he dedicates his time to the wider community in a voluntary capacity. He is an established board member of Te Ao Marama School in Hamilton as well as the chairman of the mental health organisation and not-for-profit Progress to Health.

"It's an amazing feeling to be recognised for what you love doing at a national scale. Susie Simcock did so much for sport and communities and to receive an award with her name on it surrounded by the Sport Waikato Board, my team and my whanau was very special," Corkill said.

Corkill said he loves working in sports and that it is the people that make it the most enjoyable experience.

Susie Simcock is remembered for her exemplary leadership qualities. Photo / File
Susie Simcock is remembered for her exemplary leadership qualities. Photo / File

"The people. Whether it's the people I have the pleasure of leading and watching them grow and develop in their chosen pathways or externally the great personalities and hard-working stakeholders I deal with in the greater Waikato region," Corkill said.

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"Sport is vitally important at bringing together communities socially and contributing positively to their emotional and spiritual wellness as well, of course, physically. We need to be mindful to look beyond sport too when we consider physical activity to ensure everyone is given an opportunity to 'be well through movement' whether that is through play, active recreation or sport itself. What's most important is participation."

Sport NZ paid special tribute to Susie Simcock when announcing the renaming of the award.

Susie, who passed away in May, held many prominent global sporting positions including being the first female president of World Squash, the first female council member of the General Assembly of International Sporting Federations and a Governor of the International Masters Games Association.

"Susie was a pioneer and trailblazer in sports administration. She broke new ground, particularly for women's leadership, and was an important mentor for many of our current leaders in sport today," said Sport NZ CEO Peter Miskimmin.

"It is wonderful to have both our leadership awards carry the names of two of New Zealand's finest sport leaders, Chris Doig and now Susie Simcock."

"Through the renaming of the Future Leaders' Scholarship, we hope to see Susie's legacy and influence continue for future generations to come."