Two young Northlanders have been recognised for their sporting accomplishments in the Navy at a book launch in Auckland.

Whangarei Boys' High School graduates Euan Sapwell and Oziah Duff-Feu'u were given awards as Jack Donnelly and Graeme Pearce launched their work Sailors Against the Odds - Memoirs of New Zealand Navy Sport 1941-1980.

Sapwell, 18, was presented with the LPTI Wayne 'Buck' Shelford MBE Award for physical training excellence.

Wayne Shelford MBE, often better known as Buck and for his career as an All Black than for his 10-plus years of Navy service, was guest speaker at the event and presented Sapwell with his trophy.


This award reflects Shelford's NZ Navy service, including several years as a physical training instructor and his international sporting success.

Oziah Duff-Feu'u was awarded the Donnelly/BEM Top Gun Trophy – Best Shot for most accurate on the shooting range during basic common training.

Duff-Feu'u was presented the award by Jack Donnelly who co-authored the book and was a previous winner and namesake of the Top Gun award.

Both young men attended Whangarei Boy's High School before joining the NZ Navy and graduated from naval basic common training in December 2017.

Both continue to be involved in sport and are pursuing their naval careers at Devonport Naval Base – Sapwell in electronics and Duff-Feu'u as a chef.

The authors and guest speakers including Shelford shared stories about the history of sport in the NZ Navy and told the large gathering how sport, competition and fitness is the foundation of much of the Navy's work, particularly overseas.

Many of the anecdotes shared how the New Zealand Navy, through the physical training programme, has supported and encouraged many athletes to national and international sporting success.

The speakers shared stories of the NZ Navy and its long and proud history of international defence forces competition.

Competitions would be organised in a variety of sporting events at international ports during overseas deployment, providing rich memories and stories of sporting prowess and triumph, and celebrating the Navy values of courage, commitment and comradeship.