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Passion, dedication and innovation showcased at New Zealand Sport and Recreation Awards

Passion, dedication and innovation showcased at New Zealand Sport and Recreation Awards
May 10, 2013

Excellence and outstanding achievement in sport and recreation in New Zealand were recognised at the recent annual Sport and Recreation Awards ceremony.

Sport Waikato Chief Executive and former All Black, Matthew Cooper received the prestigious C K Doig Leadership Award. The award recognises an executive sport or recreation leader who displays outstanding leadership in relation to their organisation or the sector as a whole.

Matthew Cooper has led significant positive change to the delivery of sport and recreation initiatives in the Waikato region. As well as being an effective CEO of a successful Regional Sports Trust, Matthew is an influential figure in the Waikato community and led Sport Waikato to win the Regional Business Excellence Award as well as several other major achievements in 2012.

Speaking about Cooper's award, Sport NZ Chief Executive, Peter Miskimmin stated "whether as a player or as an administrator, Matthew's commitment to sporting success fully involves him and drives him. He has proven successful at developing a myriad of complex relationships and has an outstanding ability to manage those by personally connecting and understanding what the other parties want from the relationship."

Lifetime achievement awards were presented to Pat Barwick, a former international hockey player, selector, coach and administrator; Dave Norris, an Olympic long jump and triple jump representative, director of the Millennium Institute's NorthSport Academy, and vice president of Athletics New Zealand; and Ivan Sutherland, an Olympic rower, Olympic selector, coach and chair of Rowing New Zealand.

Here Miskimmin added "the passion and dedication each of these award winners has demonstrated through their careers is immense, and is still continuing. Much of their contribution has been provided voluntarily, for the love of sport. People like these are the backbone of New Zealand's sporting success, at all levels from schools to the world stage. We thank them not only for their contributions but also for the examples they have set for athletes, coaches and administrators in all sporting codes."

Awards were also presented in Communications Excellence, Community Collaboration, Event Excellence, Innovation and Commercial Partnership. Below are details of the winners in each of those categories.

Award Winners

Communications Excellence - Sport Tasman

Sport Tasman was keen to increase media interest in and community support for its various programmes and events. It also wanted to increase the investment made by its partners and sponsors and to better engage its stakeholders through new media.

Sport Tasman has a geographically large operating area, including Nelson, Marlborough, Tasman, Buller and Kaikoura. Media in this area is fragmented and diverse, reflecting how the population is spread. The approach was to develop a set of tools that could be used across traditional and new media and key messages that reinforced Sport Tasman's strategic objectives. Messages were timed to coincide with and support the organisation's events and initiatives. Lean resources meant that investments on message development and distribution had to be tightly focused.

Despite a small budget, media interest in Sport Tasman increased five-fold; youth participation increased by 73%; use of facilities increased by 18%; volunteer workshops by 19%; and the numbers of coaches and volunteers trained increased by 25%. A new principle funder was secured, along with 12 new funding partners.

Community Collaboration - Greater Auckland Aquatic Action Plan – GAAAP

Thanks to GAAAP, the Greater Auckland Aquatic Action Plan, thousands of children are now more confident in the water. GAAAP is a multi-agency partnership between 27 national and regional aquatically focused organisations with an objective of getting more primary school kids in the water as part of a 'swim and survive' programme. The difficulty of getting all of these groups into the same room in the first instance shouldn't be underestimated – rather like swimming against the tide!

So far GAAAP has delivered 205,000 lessons to 30,000 students in 152 schools across the Auckland region. Objective measures have been put in place, such as the "Submersion" and 'Swim 200 metres' measures. Nearly 2,000 more students can now swim 200 metres – an amazing 517% improvement. Targets across all measures have improved from below 33 percent to within 8% of the national average across all measures.

The initiative has attracted the support of a wide range of organisations who value working collaboratively through GAAAP. A clear and consistent purpose for investment and objective reporting on results is a major consideration for many programme partners, and GAAAP delivers that.

Event Excellence - World Triathlon Championships

The World Triathlon Championships brought Auckland to a halt over Labour Weekend 2012.

This Grand Finale is the most significant event on the world triathlon calendar – the last event in an eight-race series that decides the world champions for that year. In May 2010, Triathlon New Zealand, Auckland Council and NZ Major Events successfully bid for the right to host the Championships. The Auckland event widened participation by hosting a participation-based entry level event, as well as a Weet-Bix Tryathlon event for people aged from 7 to 99 years.

An event goal was to attract 4,500 athletes. It attracted 5,208!

There was a focused effort to make this event highly visible and to showcase Auckland. The event was marketed to participants and to spectators – both at the events and through media. A goal was to grow the event's audience with non triathlete fans, both attending the event and watching live television coverage. It brought Auckland to a halt for three days and in terms of media interest, it was much bigger than just a sporting event. The event was also rated highly by participants and international organisers.

Innovation - London 2012 Project

Innovation, technology, performance and partnership combined to boost New Zealand's cycling successes at the 2012 London Olympics.

The London 2012 Project was a partnership between BikeNZ and Goldmine. BikeNZ is the body embracing all national bike and cycling organisations. Goldmine provides world class electronics, software and analytical tools for elite Olympic athletes.

Cycling involves a partnership between a rider and their equipment. Any benefits gained from more efficient and effective cycles, as small as microseconds and nanometres, can enhance rider performance and their success. Hardware and software were developed to capture and analyse data so that performance could be improved.

The Goldmine project contributed to the three BikeNZ medals won at the London Olympics and a World Championship title in 2012. Many other results and learnings can be attributed to this project.

Commercial Partnership - New Zealand Rugby – AIG

The All Blacks' jersey holds a special place in the hearts and minds of New Zealanders. So placing a prominent commercial logo on it was likely to create some issues.

The New Zealand Rugby Union's role is to lead, grow, support and promote New Zealand's game. American International Group (AIG) is a listed international insurance organisation that services commercial, institutional and individual customers in more than 130 countries. In October 2012 these two organisations entered into a five-and-a-half year worldwide sponsorship arrangement.

This sponsorship required a tactical approach on several levels, including getting a prominent logo placed on the All Blacks' playing jersey. Timing and logistics considerations involved with implementing this agreement were considerable. So too was reputation risk, particularly from fans and players.

This required careful negotiation with stakeholders, including the All Blacks' other major sponsor and branded playing jersey provider Adidas. In order to grow the brand's reach, the Sevens team and New Zealand Maori team were renamed as the All Blacks Sevens and Maori All Blacks. This allows the All Blacks brand to be more visible in more markets throughout the year. Attention to detail has paid off, with AIG's logo now clearly on show, and little reaction or public comment from rugby's stakeholders or fans.

Lifetime Achievement Awards

Pat Barwick

Although synonymous with Canterbury, Pat Barwick was born at Brunswick, north of Wanganui. She captained the New Zealand women's hockey team from 1971 to 1979. Selected for the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, Pat did not compete because of the international boycott. She competed in many international hockey tournaments. She has coached the New Zealand women's team, Under 18s, Under 21s and a New Zealand Selection. She coached Canterbury to five national and two champion tournament titles. A life member of Hockey New Zealand, Pat is currently the director of coaching for Sport Canterbury.

Dave Norris

As a competitive athlete, Dave Norris ONZM specialised in the long jump and triple jump events. Born in Birkenhead, Auckland, he represented New Zealand at the 1960 Rome Olympics and competed at five British Empire and Commonwealth Games from 1958 to 1974. He won a long jump silver medal at Perth in 1962 and a bronze in the triple jump at Cardiff in 1958. Dave has won 28 national titles and broken 11 records in jumping and hurdling over his career. A former high school principal at Glenfield College, he was also a North Shore City Councillor, chief executive of Basketball North Harbour and helped create the Millennium Institute of Sport. He is currently vice president of Athletics New Zealand, an organisation on which he has served for many years.

Ivan Sutherland

Born into a sporting family in Blenheim, Ivan achieved sporting success as an international rower. He crewed in the bronze-medal-winning eight at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, won silver in the four at the 1977 Amsterdam World Championships, and bronze the following year in the World Championships at Lake Karapiro. Ivan was the Rowing Team Manager for New Zealand at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and 1992 Barcelona Olympics. He was a national selector for 12 years. At club level he has rowed for the Wairau, Waikato and Avon Clubs. Ivan was on the board for the highly acclaimed 2010 World Rowing Championships at Lake Karapiro. He was elected as chair of Rowing New Zealand in 2010 and retires from that role later this year. In 2011 Ivan was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to rowing and viticulture.

C K Doig Leadership Award 

Matthew Cooper

After retiring as a successful rugby player at Super 12 and All Black level, Matthew Cooper became Chief Executive of Sport Waikato.

Sport Waikato is a large organisation employing 70 people and 35 contractors with an annual turnover of about $7 million. Most of these funds have to be earned from contributors within the Waikato region who need to see measurable value for their contributions.

Cooper's strength is managing relationships by personally connecting and understanding what other parties want from a relationship with Sport Waikato.

Under Cooper's leadership, Sport Waikato had some notable successes in 2012 including:

Expanding the Project Energize programme into all Waikato primary and intermediate schools. This $1.8 million programme also involves the Waikato DHB and exposes students to the benefits of exercise and better nutrition.

The Sports Force programme was successfully renewed. Sponsored by Trust Waikato, $7 million is invested in a professional development network for coaches and administrators from 18 codes across the region.

A Waikato/Bay of Plenty joint bid for the Cycling Centre of Excellence was successful and will be built at Cambridge.

The Hamilton City Council was persuaded to submit a host bid for the 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup.

Waikato teams had a successful year with the Magic and the Chiefs winning inaugural international championships; Waikato Badminton's three-peat and the Waikato Rugby team winning and successfully defending the Ranfurly Shield.

In 2006, Cooper became a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to rugby and sports administration.  







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