Sport is important.

It is a point I failed to make strongly enough when I presented the Hawke's Bay Today Hawke's Bay Sportsperson of the Year award on Saturday night.

Aimee Fisher was the deserved winner on a night when Hawke's Bay's elite sportspeople were celebrated at the Pettigrew Green Arena in Taradale.

Why is sport so important?


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We live in a digital age, that if we are not careful, will devalue, rather than enhance our lifestyles.

The world is on the cusp of a digital/industrial revolution that will see dramatic changes to our lives.

Driverless cars. Robots. Technology we used to think was only possible in sci-fi movie scripts.

The worst case scenario could see humans choose to barely lift a finger, if only to tap a cellphone or device and order our lives online, without leaving the house.

So sport is important. Not only for us as individuals but as a society.

It gets us out of the house, interacting on and off the field, communicating and socialising face-to-face.

Which is far healthier than communicating solely by phone, email or online media.


Performing arts has a similar role in a healthy society.

Flying into Napier on Saturday, I sat next to musician and Smokefreerockquest judge Priya Sami for an hour.

If you ever get the chance, I recommend travelling with her.

She was slightly unwell, something to do with a reaction to dusting, I understand.

But she was smart and funny, and just back from India where she learned traditional Carnatic singing.

Sami's Indian heritage comes from her paternal side, her mum's side of the family is of Irish descent.

A little like the plane as we came into land, our conversation had jumped around a bit.

But we talked about how important performing arts are, in encouraging people to interact kanohi ki te kanohi - face to face.

So on Saturday night, there were two important events happening in Hawke's Bay.

They both celebrated activities that we might take a little for granted.

But don't underestimate how important they are to a healthy future for humans.

And from the evidence on display on Saturday night, things augur well for a healthy Hawke's Bay.