Covid-19 has definitely had a profound effect on the sports sector and one of the casualties last year was the Conbrio Northland Sports Awards. This function was scheduled to be held in March 2020 but as we were in lockdown at that time. They were successfully held for the first time in a virtual format.
The lack of competitive sport throughout 2020 led Sport Northland to also reconsider holding the district sports awards (Far North and Kaipara) in November and the Northland Sports Awards in March this year, and as such all were cancelled.
This naturally led us to review our on-going delivery of sports awards across the region.
When we looked objectively at it, we realised we needed to take the following into account as well:
• The costs to put on the awards have increased, resulting in increased ticket prices
• Staff resourcing to run awards has increased
• Getting sports codes to nominate people for awards has become harder and a significant amount of time is spent chasing nominations
• Finding appropriate venues to host the awards has become more difficult
• Many sports codes hold their own awards functions recognising their people and many end up having to attend several awards functions (code, district, Northland) which can be a significant financial cost to the family involved
• The format for the awards hasn't changed much since 1987 when the Northland Sports Awards first began, yet Sport Northland's own focus and purpose has. Our focus now also includes play and active recreation and the vast majority of our work is about community participation and development, rather than the elite end.
Long story short, we recognise it is time for a change.
While we still want to keep the best of what we had previously, we want to decrease the significant staff time and cost spent on organising the actual sports awards functions. As such, the Sport Northland board has approved the following for 2022:
Conbrio Northland Sports Awards
• The next Northland Sports Awards will only recognise the following top overall awards: supreme award, sports woman and man, team, junior sports person, service to sport and Legend of Northland Sport
• There will be no code awards
• Awards will be hosted online only
• Award winners will still receive trophies with an opportunity to present them in their own sports code settings
• The Community Impact Award will continue but will be open to play, active recreation and sport initiatives. There will be no one winner, however we intend to recognise the good initiatives that meet the criteria
Silver Fern Farms Kaipara Sports Awards and FNDC Far North Sports Awards
• There will be no district sports awards in the Far North and Kaipara as they were previously. Instead, they will be replaced with the Northland Community Play, Active Recreation and Sport Volunteer Awards
• An award nomination opportunity will be made available twice a year – April and October and will be open to all of Northland
• This is likely to be similar to the current volunteer categories for district awards eg, Service (20 years+), Contribution (5-20 years) and Newcomer (less than 5 years)
• Recognition options will occur in the most appropriate form, for example online profiles, media releases, certificate or trophy presented in the most appropriate setting
All of these new changes will be reviewed following delivery in 2022.