Community Spirit category:

When Earlwyn Uncles' son was injured in a car accident and began playing wheelchair rugby, so too began Mr Uncles' involvement in the sport.

For nine years now he has been a mainstay volunteer with the Palmerston North Wheelchair Rugby Team.

At weekly practice, regional and national tournaments you can see Mr Uncles towing the club trailer full of chairs to and from venues, never asking for petrol money and often refusing donations.


He is the team's mechanic as well - maintaining the chairs, fixing punctures and helping the paraplegic or tetraplegic players, regardless of which side they're playing for.

Mr Uncles also umpires the games, and recently drove back to Palmerston North from Wellington to pick up a chair that had been left behind so the team didn't miss out on the national tournament.

His nominator said: "He's one of those good Kiwi blokes who would give you the shirt off his back. Nothing is ever too much of an issue for him to try to fix. I think it's awesome that there are people out there like Earlwyn who would drop what they are doing or give you their last dollar."

Mr Uncles said: "It's a great sport. I've been doing it for nine years and play myself every now and then when they need someone to fill in."