Olympian and Emirates Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling has capped off a stellar year by being named Bayleys Real Estate Sportsman of the Year award and the Sport Bay of Plenty Supreme Award winner at the Bay of Plenty Sports Awards.
The 2017 Bay of Plenty Sports Awards, held at Rotorua's Energy Events Centre last night, celebrated the abundance of talent produced in the region and were attended by more than 400 finalists and supporters, sponsors, VIPs, and Sport Bay of Plenty staff.
Burling entered the awards' history books as a four-time Supreme Award winner, having previously won the award in 2006, 2013 and 2016 — the most of any athlete since the awards were first held in 1969. He was also the first athlete to receive the award in consecutive years.
While few could argue with Burling receiving the award, he was up against some tough competition in the Sportsman of the Year category, with Black Cap Kane Williamson, canoe slalom's Mike Dawson, sidecar passenger Robbie Shorter, athletics champion Joseph Millar and motor sport's Richie Stanaway all finalists.
However, Sport Bay of Plenty sport manager Megan Cleverley said after the Tauranga Boys' College alumni secured an against-all-odds win at the Louis Vuitton America's Cup, it was a unanimous decision from the judges.
"At 26 years, Peter has achieved more than many at such a top international and national level and he's an incredible example of sportsmanship and commitment. Always humble, he is a true leader and a hard-working athlete, and we are honoured to recognise his sporting achievements," Cleverley said.
Burling was unable to attend the awards in person, as he is sailing around the world in the Volvo Ocean Race, but a recorded message of thanks was played to the crowd and his mother Heather was in attendance to receive the trophies on his behalf.
Olympian Lisa Carrington was named the Holland Beckett Law Sportswoman of the Year, which she has won an incredible five times prior (2011-2013, 2015-2016). She also won the Secondary School Sportswoman of the Year award when attending Whakatane High School in 2007.
Carrington was unable to attend the awards, but her mother Glynis Carrington accepted the award on her behalf.
"I'm always proud of her, but especially this year when she had such a big workload," Glynis said.
"I never doubted that she would do what she does best, as best she can, but we were just speechless with how she went."
The hockey community had a good year, with the University of Waikato Midlands U21 women's hockey team taking home the NZ Community Trust Junior Team of the Year award, and Bayleys Midlands NHL women's hockey team winning the Rotorua Daily Post Team of the Year.
Hockey official Kelly Hudson was named Radio Sport Official of the Year, which she also won in 2016, and Patti Sutton received the Bay of Plenty Principals' Association Secondary School Service to Sport for her contribution to the sector.
In the junior division, triathlete Hayden Wilde was named Vodafone Junior Sportsman of the Year for a fantastic year of achievements, including placing third in the 2017 Port of Tauranga Half Ironman alongside long-time Ironmen Cameron Brown and Braden Currie.
Downhill mountain biker and current world number two Shania Rawson took home the Eves Realty Junior Sportswoman of the Year trophy — an honour previously won by Olympians Luuka Jones and Molly Meech.
Rotorua Boys' High School first XV captain Hayze Perham, who was recently signed by NRL club the New Zealand Warriors, took home the Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology Secondary School Sportsman of the Year.
While accepting the award, perham was asked about joining the Warriors by MC Chris Key, from television show The Crowd Goes Wild.
"An 18-year-old kid being asked to go train and play with the big boys is obviously nerve-wracking, but at the same time I'm really excited for the opportunity they've given me," Perham said.
"At Rotorua Boys' High School the principal, the teaching staff and the coaching staff are amazing, all the rugby and league boys dabble in both fields, they don't block any opportunities for us."
Frances Lloyd was named Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology Secondary School Sportswoman of the Year for an impressive season of taekwondo.
Rotorua's Allan Bunting was rewarded for a successful year as the Black Ferns Sevens head coach, winning the BayTrust Coach of the Year award.
But it wasn't all about the athletes, with numerous volunteers, coaches and officials in the open and secondary school space rewarded for their dedication and commitment.
The Open Service to Sport Award was given to those who have been involved in their chosen sport for at least 10 years and have made a significant contribution at either regional or national level.
With a membership of more than 3000 and having hosted nine regional tournaments this year, the Rotorua Netball Centre was named the Ebbett Tauranga Club of the year. The club is run entirely by volunteers and during winter sees about 2000 children take to the courts every Saturday.
2017 Bay of Plenty Sports Awards winners
Sport Bay of Plenty Supreme Award: Peter Burling - Sailing
Bayleys Real Estate Sportsman of the Year: Peter Burling - Sailing
Holland Beckett Law Sportswoman of the Year: Lisa Carrington — Kayaking
Eves Realty Junior Sportswoman of the Year: Shania Rawson - Downhill Mountain Biking
Donelley Sawmillers Ltd International Sportsperson of the Year: Ryan Thomas - Football
Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology Secondary School Sportsman of the Year: Hayze Perham (Rotorua Boys' High School) - Rugby League, Rugby Union, Touch Rugby & Rugby Sevens
Vodafone Junior Sportsman of the Year: Hayden Wilde - Triathlon
Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology Secondary School Sportswoman of the Year: Frances Lloyd - Taekwondo
BayTrust Coach of the Year: Allan Bunting - Rugby Sevens
Vo2 Secondary School Coach of the Year: Hemi Barsdell - Volleyball
NZ Community Trust Junior Team of the Year: University of Waikato Midlands U21 Women's Hockey Team
Rotorua Daily Post Team of the Year: Bayleys Midlands NHL Women's Hockey Team
Dudfield Bryce Printers Open Service to Sport: Lee-Ann Fraser — Badminton, Ashley Peat & Deborah Keenleyside - Rugby, Craig Tiriana - Bay of Plenty sport, Donna Keaney -
Hockey, Fiona Keegan - Indoor Bowls, Alison Wieringa - Netball/Bay of Plenty sport, Veena Kameta - Rugby League, Paul van de Salm - Football, Graham Walker - Volleyball
Radio Sport Official of the Year: Kelly Hudson - Hockey
Ebbett Tauranga Club of the Year: Rotorua Netball Centre
Bay Office Products Depot Secondary School Boys' Team of the Year: Whakatane High School U17 & U18 Double Sculls Rowing Team
Bay Cardiology Secondary School Girls' Team of the Year: Trident High School Senior Girls' A Volleyball Team
Aurecon Secondary School Student Contribution to Sport: Ashley Wilson - Football
Bay of Plenty Principals' Association Secondary School Service to Sport: Patti Sutton -