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Awards recognise top performers in New Zealand recreation

Awards recognise top performers in New Zealand recreation
November 20, 2015

New Zealand’s recreation industry recognised 10 inspiring individuals and organisations at the New Zealand Recreation Association (NZRA) Awards, held in Wellington on the evening of Thursday 19th November.

Held during the NZRA National Conference in Wellington, the awards acknowledge people and organisations whose efforts and initiatives have markedly improved the recreation experiences of New Zealanders.

NZRA Chief Executive Andrew Leslie commented “it gives me enormous pleasure to present these awards in recognition of the people, organisations and programmes that are significantly helping our communities enjoy better recreation opportunities.”

This year’s award winners include Te Ara Piko, a shared pathway around the Pauatahanui inlet near Porirua, which won the Outstanding Project award. The pathway was jointly developed by the Porirua City Council and the Rotary Club of Plimmerton.

Sport Beyond School, an Auckland pilot primarily funded by Sport New Zealand to encourage school leavers to continue participating in recreation and sport, picked up the Outstanding Community Recreation Programme award. The Outstanding Facility award went to the Arataki Community Centre in Tauranga, while Auckland’s Albany Lakes Civic Park picked up the Outstanding Park award.

The Coastlands Aquatic Centre in Kapiti received the Outstanding Pool award, and the Outstanding Research, Planning, and Policy award went to the Hamilton City Council’s Playgrounds of the Future programme, which aims to build partnerships between local government and the community for sustainable recreation opportunities.

Individual award winners included Grant MacLeod, Emerging Recreation Leader of the Year; Richard Lindsay, who received the Mark Mitchell Memorial Trophy; Chris Close, recipient of the Ian Galloway Memorial Cup, and Paul Stuart Memorial Award winner Craig Carter.

Auckland’s Tepid Baths Redevelopment and Parrs Park were highly commended respectively in the Outstanding Project and Outstanding Park categories.

Leslie added “we had many inspiring entries this year and we had to make some tough choices.

“Everyone on this list stands out for their passion and commitment.”

2015 NZRA Award winners, including judges’ comments.

Outstanding Project
To recognise excellence, innovation and effectiveness in the provision of a recreation and leisure project.
Winner: Te Ara Piko Pathway - Porirua City Council and Rotary Club of Plimmerton
The Te Ara Piko Pathway is a shared pathway around the Pauatahanui inlet near Porirua. The inlet is unique in that it is the only large coastal wetland left in the lower North Island. The Department of Conservation has rated it as a site of National Significance.

Since 2005, the pathway has been developed in multiple stages, based on available funding. An outstanding example of council and community partnership, this safe, attractive and accessible walkway is helping bring together and reinvigorate the local community.
Highly commended: Tepid Baths Redevelopment, Auckland Council

Outstanding Community Recreation Programme
To recognise excellence, innovation and effectiveness in the provision of a community recreation programme.
Winner: Sport Beyond School - University of Auckland, Sport Auckland, Sport Waitakere, Counties Manukau Sport, Harbour Sport, and Sport NZ
Sport Beyond School is an Active Communities pilot primarily funded by Sport New Zealand, and has been running since mid-2012 at the University of Auckland. The aim of the pilot is to retain school leavers in sport and recreation by creating a viable and sustainable pathway through tertiary institutions.

This is a sector-leading programme that has demonstrated great research methodology, innovation and collaboration. It has gone a long way to finding an affordable solution to the universal problem of young people dropping out of sport when they leave school.

Outstanding Facility
To recognise excellence, innovation and effectiveness in the provision of a facility.
Winner: Arataki Community Centre - Bay Venues, Tauranga City Council

In 2009, a group of concerned people from the Arataki community got together to persuade Tauranga City Council to develop a new community centre for the people of Arataki. Six years on, the centre is a hive of activity with high participation in the diverse range of activities being offered on a daily basis.
This is an inspiring example of how to bring a community closer together by involving them in the development and programming of a new centre that can meet their sporting and leisure needs.

Outstanding Park
To recognise excellence, innovation and effectiveness in the provision of a park.
Winner: Albany Lakes Civic Park - Auckland Council

Over 17 years, what used to be a paddock was progressively transformed into an outstanding civic park, with efficient transport and recreation linkages. The park exemplifies initiative, innovation and effectiveness.
Highly commended: Parrs Park, Auckland Council

Outstanding Pool
To recognise excellence, innovation and effectiveness in the provision of a pool.
Winner: Coastlands Aquatic Centre - Kapiti Coast District Council
Coastlands Aquatic Centre (pictured above) is a state-of-the-art facility in Kapiti catering for all ages and aquatic abilities. Reflecting the goal of programmes for all, the Coastlands Aquatic Centre has gone out of its way to consult with and engage with the community to design innovative programmes that meet the needs of the elderly and the young.

The centre reflects excellence in community engagement, programming, and innovative solutions to problems.

Outstanding Research, Planning, and Policy Award
To recognise excellence, innovation and effectiveness in research, planning and policy.
Winner: Playgrounds of the Future - Hamilton City Council

Playgrounds of the Future is a bold, inspiring and simple strategy that involves a healthy collaboration between community and local government. It combines an innovative approach with sound financial planning. The plan relies on a partnership model with financial contributions from funding organisations, donations from individuals, business sponsorship and council investment, which reduces the impact on taxpayers.

Emerging Recreation Leader of the Year
To recognise an emerging leader who demonstrates excellence and makes an outstanding personal contribution to the recreation industry.
Winner: Grant MacLeod

Grant has held various roles at the Christchurch City Council and is currently working as programme manager for parks, recreation facilities, community facilities and libraries. During his time at the council, he has contributed significantly to the recreation sector, both in a professional and voluntary capacity.

Grant has demonstrated leadership in a number of programmes, including one aimed at connecting Lincoln University students with professionals for mentoring opportunities.

Grant is an active volunteer. He has been a member of the NZRA since 2005. He has worked on recreation programmes for new migrant communities and volunteered time to local youth groups.

Mark Mitchell Memorial Trophy
To recognise excellence, outstanding personal contribution and leadership in the recreation industry.
Winner: Richard Lindsay
Richard has devoted 25 years to the recreation sector, in a professional and voluntary capacity. As a recreation officer at the Hutt City Council in the 1990s, he developed and refined a number of successful community programmes and events. Much of his work since then, with the S&R Earthquake Leadership Group at Sport NZ, and now at Visitor Solutions, has centred on making a difference in the recreation sector.

A quiet achiever, he often works behind the scenes to meet his goals. He has built up a great variety of contacts throughout his time in the sector and is recognised among his peers for what he has achieved for recreation in New Zealand, with many turning to him for mentoring.

Ian Galloway Memorial Cup
To recognise excellence and outstanding personal contribution to the parks industry.
Winner: Chris Close
Chris Close is an experienced and passionate horticulturalist who has worked tirelessly to protect and propagate rare and endangered native species of plants by growing them in public gardens and parks.
Chris was responsible for managing Percy Scenic Reserve in Petone from 1991 to 2002. During that time, he and his team increased the proportion of native plants and helped transform the site into a thriving landscape.
He has remained with the Hutt City Council and continues to encourage the use of native species, as well as a culture of experimentation. He also volunteers much of his time to sharing his knowledge with others.

Paul Stuart Memorial Award
To recognise excellence and outstanding personal contribution to the facility management industry.
Winner: Craig Carter, Community Leisure Management

Craig has a broad range of public and private sector experience in facility management and recreation. He started out as a student working for the Franklin District Council at the local recreation centre in 1990, before working both as a supervisor and manager at East Coast Bays Leisure centre from 1991 through to 1996. Since then, Craig has successfully driven Community Leisure Management (CLM), which provides facility management for recreation centres, swimming pools and fitness centres.

Craig Carter is an inspiring, passionate, committed and innovative leader who is prepared to share the load when needed and who has mentored many a young emerging leader in the sector.

Images: Coastlands Aquatic Centre (top), Arataki Community Centre (middle) and Craig Carter (below).





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