Every year the Halberg Awards generate divisive debate. This time, though, the judges followed the blinding light to recognise the two obvious stars of New Zealand sport over the past year, Israel Adesanya and Noeline Taurua.
Adesanya and Taurua's respective moments were well overdue. Both are far from done leaving their indelible marks, either.
In many ways, they're just getting started.
Adesanya's refreshingly unfiltered speech stole the limelight after breaking the glass ceiling for combat sports in this country.
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For too long the Halbergs, and certain sections of New Zealand's elitist sporting culture, have shunned fight sports due to their gruesome nature.
To do so was to disrespect the dedication, sacrifice and vast array of skills involved in reaching the pinnacle in such genuinely global pursuits.
Even if you don't watch or necessarily agree with combat sports, it's impossible not to appreciate the personal struggles, the inherent pain, in their individual pathways.
Nothing comes easy.
Adesanya's rise is, hopefully, recognition that those behind the Halberg voting papers are finally opening their eyes to success well beyond the prim and proper Olympic realm.
Aside from his sporting feats, Adesanya inspires and captivates future sporting talents through the power of being real.
He is who he is – and proud of it. Long may such personality be celebrated.
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His tribute to New Zealand's indigenous Maori warriors struck a chord. As did his nod to the late Jimmy Thunder, David Tua, Ray Sefo, Doug Viney and Joseph Parker – those fighters who represented New Zealand with distinction on the world stage, only to be neglected by the Halbergs previously.
Not so any more. The conservative shackles have been broken.
Adesanya's final message about the need to do away with tall poppy syndrome – to pump up rather than knock down emerging stars – also resonates at a time when mental health challenges have never been more acute.
Just as Adesanya's sportsman of the year title was richly deserved – Kane Williamson was the victim of circumstance in the cruel Cricket World Cup final – so, too, were the Silver Ferns the right choice to sweep four awards, including team of the year and the supreme gong.
Their success rests at Taurua's feet. She, too, has come in from the cold.
Taurua is something of a reluctant heroine. Where Adesanya's mustard jacket speaks to his swag and increasingly dominant presence in the promotional arena, Taurua only accepted her Damehood honour in order to gain greater recognition and profile for her sport.
Don't call her Dame Noeline. She much prefers Noels.
Taurua's at times tumultuous journey offers an inspiring lesson in patience and perseverance; her coach of the year title vindication for someone once maligned for not conforming to the expectations of others.
From outcast to outstanding leadership, she deserves every accolade.
While Netball New Zealand celebrates their resurrection, they know their previous management must now live with the ignominy of overlooking the most successful domestic coach in New Zealand and Australia for too long.
No other mentor could have guided the Silver Ferns from fourth ranked to world champions in Liverpool last year.
From their low ebb after failing to medal at the Commonwealth Games to their first world title in 16 years, Taurua immediately restored pride to a sport that commands huge historical significance here.
She is one of a kind, someone who embodies mana.
Taurua's intent to bring back pivotal leaders Laura Langman and Casey Kopua last year formed the backbone of the World Cup success but it's the belief she instills, and her tough love fitness standards, that brings out the best in all her athletes.
That Langman and Kopua would not have returned for anyone else speaks to her influence.
Further proof of Taurua's inclusive culture and challenging environment was evident last month as she led the Ferns to the Nations Cup title in the UK while grooming the next generation.
In the years to come, her visionary attributes must be continually embraced well beyond the end of her contract in early 2021.
Those fighting on the fringe can take heart from the Adesanya and Taurua triumphs.
Their success proves resilience goes a long way to shattering perceptions.