Sports Waikato is replacing its cancelled district sports awards with a new set of awards celebrating innovation and achievement in a year of adversity.
The new look awards will replace the current district sports awards and the Brian Perry Waikato Regional Awards for the 2020 year and will celebrate nominations from those who have used this year as an opportunity to think differently about how they keep their community active, said CEO of Sport Waikato Matthew Cooper.
District sports awards were cancelled earlier in the year due to the disruption of sport and the difficulties of fairly judging one sportsperson, team, or coach against another.
"We still really want to celebrate sport and active recreation and its importance in our region. We want to be able to acknowledge the innovation, the partnerships, the collaboration and the many different ways our communities have managed to keep sport and active recreation a focus in this year of adversity," said Cooper.
"One thing that has really come to light during the lockdown and the course of the pandemic is the value New Zealanders place on sport and active recreation – we missed playing sport, we missed watching and supporting sport, and without it we found ways to be active in our neighbourhoods and homes, and to connect virtually with others through physical activity while impacted by Covid-19, " he said.
"In recognition of the challenges 2020 has presented the sector, but also in response to the opportunities people have created, we have launched the 2020 Waikato Sport & Active Recreation Awards, which is all about celebrating innovation and achievement in a year of adversity."
Along with the judged categories of Community Connection, Sport & Active Recreation Partnership, Outstanding Active Space Initiative, Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion and Service to Sport Awards, there are also two categories enabling public voting - People's Choice Sportsperson and People's Choice Sporting or Active Recreation Moment awards.
The categories for the new awards are:
• Community Connection Award: Celebrating those individuals or organisations that have made a significant contribution to sport and active recreation due to any initiative they have created and undertaken. This category is open to sport and active recreation organisations or initiatives that have persevered with their sport/recreation offering – eg. reshaped and offered online, did things differently, created something completely new, supporting the building of resilience over a difficult time (not limited to Covid-19).
• Sport & Active Recreation Partnership Award: Celebrating partnership and collaboration, where two or more organisations have come together to put on an event or develop an initiative. This award is for councils, community organisations, iwi, education providers or any organisation partnering with others to provide sport and active recreation opportunities to their communities.
• Outstanding Active Space Initiative: Celebrating the unique use of spaces, places and facilities in ways that support increased participation in sport and active recreation. The initiative needs to have occurred in (for example) parks and open spaces, community halls and facilities, playgrounds, waterways, gullies or school spaces, and it focuses on a celebration of the ways that sport, active recreation and play spaces can be created anywhere!
• Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion: Celebrating initiatives that support diversity and inclusion within sport and active recreation. This includes initiatives to increase access, participation, leadership and inclusion among ethnic minority groups, disabled people, women and girls, cultural and religious groups or other marginalised communities.
• Service to Sport: Celebrating individual nominees (both paid or volunteer) who have dedicated more than 20 years to sport or active recreation in their community.
The two public voting categories are:
• People's Choice Sportsperson for any sportsperson who is a current player and resides or plays in the Waikato region, not only for achievement in their chosen sport but also for their commitment to their community, their support of special projects or contribution of voluntary time, humbleness, etc. Anyone can nominate a sportsperson, and public voting will open in November once all nominations have been received.
• People's Choice Sporting or Active Recreation Moment is an opportunity to upload a video of a sporting or active recreation moment – those moments that make you proud; not necessarily focused on winning but on having fun, putting in effort, improvement, supporting teammates or the opposition, fair play and enjoyment of the game or activity. Sporting or active recreation moments can include participants, coaches, umpires or supporters – it's the moment that's important.
Nominations open on Friday, August 28 and close on Friday, October 30. Public voting for People's Choice award categories opens on Monday, November 2 and closes November 30.
To nominate go to www.sportwaikato.org.nz.