Hawke's Bay-based Tall Blacks basketball coach Paul Henare will be inducted into the province's Sports Hall of Fame next month.
A year after winning the Coach of the Year award for the second consecutive year at Hawke's Bay's annual Sportsperson of the Year awards function, Henare will be inducted at the 2019 Forsyth Barr edition of the awards to be staged in Taradale's Pettigrew-Green Arena on May 25. He will be the second basketballer to be inducted after former New Zealand women's representative Di Robertson in 2010.
A Napier Boys' High School old boy, Henare, 40, won a Commonwealth Games silver medal as a Tall Blacks player in 2006 and bronze medal as coach last year. The former point guard was an ANBL champion with the Breakers in 2011, a three-time NZNBL champion, twice with the Auckland Stars in 1999 and 2000 and once with the Bay Hawks in 2006, an NZNBL All Star in 2001 and a five-time NZNBL assist champion.
As a coach Henare won two NZNBL titles with the Southland Sharks in 2013 and 2015 and is a three-time NZNBL Coach of the Year award winner. He has coached the Tall Blacks since 2015 and the New Zealand Breakers from 2016-18.
The 2002 winner of the supreme award at the annual Hawke's Bay awards function, Henare will be impressed with the finalists for this year's function which include 2016 and 2018 winner of the supreme award, kayaker Aimee Fisher, and 2015 winner, cyclist Regan Gough. This pair are up against Silver Ferns netballer Kimiora Poi, world-ranked alpine skier Piera Hudson and world-ranked mountainbiker Brook Macdonald in the tussle for the senior award.
Considering the calibre of these finalists it will be a surprise if the winner of the supreme award doesn't come from the senior category. However there are plenty of New Zealand representatives and national champions among the other categories.
"It's one of the strongest years across all categories. We had 55 finalists from 23 sports and this shows the breadth of high performing sports people and coaches in the region," Sport Hawke's Bay's commercial manager Ryan Hambleton said.
"We've got finalists from Wairoa in the north to Central Hawke's Bay which is tremendous," added Hambleton who is expecting a crowd of 600.
Winners of the senior, junior, senior team, junior team, disabled and masters categories are all eligible for the supreme award. Black Sticks hockey player Olivia Shannon and sprinter Georgia Hulls must be considered favourites for the junior award.
It will be interesting to see if Shannon's national title-winning Iona College First XI hockey team can repeat their Hawke's Bay Secondary Schools team award win in the junior team category where the Napier Boys' High School First XV rugby team is expected to have plenty of support after winning the Hurricanes title and finishing second at the National Top Four.
After retaining their national club cricket title, 2018 winners of the senior team award Napier Technical Old Boys will be hard to beat again. However the Manuz and Jeminaz waka ama crew could pip them in the wake of their W6 1500m turning race title win at the national champs where they stopped 2018 world champions Horouta's Kaiarahi Toa from Gisborne winning a 10th consecutive title.
A clubmate of this crew and two-time world champion Peter Cowan is the favourite for the disabled category award. One of the paddlers in the crew, Roni Nuku, along with her hubby Myka Nuku are among finalists for the masters award.
A bronze medallist with the New Zealand women's bowls four at the 1994 Commonwealth Games, Colleen Ferrick and swimming dynamo Keith Bone, will both be recognised for lifetime contributions to their respective codes.
Sportsground.co.nz Administrator of the Year: Andrea Cullen (Hockey), Paula Combs (Rugby), Carl Larsen (Mountainbiking), Simon Montgomerie (Basketball).
Nimon and Sons Sports Organisation: Hawke's Bay Basketball, Hawke's Bay Canoe Polo, Hawke's Bay Hockey Association, Hawke's Bay Netball.
Zeelandt Grassroots Club: Bridge Pa Sports Club, Haeata Ocean Sports, Outkast Club, Taradale Rugby and Sports.
Three Wise Birds Innovation: Adventure Wairoa, Basketball HB/EB Sports, Hawke's Bay Netball, Unison Greatest Support.
Brebner Print Official: Joanna Burns (Synchronised Swimming), Lee Erskine (Hockey), Gareth Sheehan (Football), Danielle Stephenson (Hockey and Canoe Polo).
Kennedy Park Resort Napier Masters: Julie Boshier (Triathlon), Emma Burns (Swimming), Myka Nuku (Waka Ama/Whitewater Rafting), Roni Nuku (Waka Ama/Whitewater Rafting).
Vidals Coach: Charissa Barham (Netball), Leon Birnie (Football), Zico Coronel (Basketball), Greg Nicol (Hockey).
Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Impact on Maori Sport: Daniel de Thierry (Various Sports), Paddy Steffert (Softball), Te Rau Oranga O Ngati Kahungunu Waka Ama Club, Ihaka Waerea (Rugby League).
Glenn Cook Technologies Lifetime Contribution: Keith Bone (Swimming), Colleen Ferrick (Bowls).
Stirling Sports Junior Team: Daniel Brown and Jack Wilkinson (Kayaking), Iona College First XI Hockey, Napier Boys' High School First XV Rugby, St John's College Senior Canoe Polo.
Tremains Senior Team: Manuz and Jeminaz (Haeata Ocean Sports) Waka Ama, Napier Technical Old Boys Cricket, Paul and Sheryl Viggers Lawn Bowls, Taylor Hawks Basketball.
EIT Junior Sportsperson: Kaitlin Cotter (Hockey), Georgia Hulls (Athletics), Olivia Shannon (Hockey), Jack Wilkinson (Kayaking).
Paladin Disabled Sportsperson: Peter Cowan (Kayaking and Waka Ama), Guy Harrison (Athletics and Badminton), Tyler Jennings (Wheelchair Rugby).
Forsyth Barr Senior Sportsperson: Aimee Fisher (Kayaking), Regan Gough (Cycling), Piera Hudson (Snow Sports), Brook Macdonald (Mountainbiking), Kimiora Poi (Netball).