Finalists announced for inaugural Norwood New Zealand Rural Sports Awards

PALMERSTON NORTH, New Zealand (14 February, 2017) – National and world champions in traditional sports like shearing, wood chopping, fencing, tree climbing and gumboot throwing feature among the finalists for the inaugural Norwood New Zealand Rural Sports Awards taking place next month in Palmerston North.

Organisers announced the full list of finalists in four separate categories today ahead of the awards dinner at Awapuni Racecourse on Friday 10th March, the night before the Hilux New Zealand Rural Games where several of them will be competing.

Rowland Smith

Rowland Smith at the 2016 Hilux New Zealand Rural Games

The shortlist for the New Zealand Rural Sportsman of the Year includes 2016 Wiremark Golden Pliers winner and 2015 world champion fencer, Shane Bouskill (Hawke’s Bay), current national tree climbing champion and three-time world champion, Scott Forrest (Kawerau, Bay of Plenty), plus reigning Golden Shears and New Zealand shearing champion and 2016 world champion, Rowland Smith (Hastings).

Olympic rowing gold medallist and 2017 New Zealand Sportsman of the Year, Mahé Drysdale will present the men’s award in association with CB Norwood Distributors Ltd. Mahé is also guest speaker at the awards dinner.

The New Zealand Rural Sportswoman of the Year award in association with 8 Wired Brewing will be presented by Dame Valerie Adams, twice Olympic shot put champion and 2009 supreme Halberg Award winner.

The finalists are New Zealand gumboot throwing champion and women’s national record holder, Kristen Churchward (Taihape), reigning world tree climbing champion, Chrissy Spence (Gisborne) and shearer and woolhandler, Pagan Karauria (Alexandra). Pagan was nominated as the outstanding woman in most major shearing events in New Zealand last year.

Kristen-Churchward-Norwood-New-Zealand-Rural-Sports-Awards-NEWS

Kristen Churchward at the 2016 Hilux New Zealand Rural Games

Recognising emerging talent, the Young New Zealand Rural Sportsperson of the Year in association with Fonterra will be presented by Genevieve Behrent, silver medallist in the women’s rowing pair at last year’s Rio Olympics.

The finalists are Brody Channings (Hunterville) winner of the Bill Schuler Novice Round at the 2016 NZ National Fencing Championships, Jack Jordan (Taranaki) winner of three underhand open wood chopping world titles last year and New Zealand women’s junior woolhandling champion, Angela Stevens (Napier).

The final award recognises Contribution to the Rural Sports Industry and will be presented in association with Federated Farmers of New Zealand by Hon Nathan Guy, Minister for Primary Industries.

Finalists include endurance horse rider, trainer and official Wendy Farnell (Ashburton), fencer Paul Van Beers (Porangahau, Hawke’s Bay) – a 13-time winner of the Wiremark Golden Pliers trophy as well as a respected official – and Lance Waddell (Whangarei) nominated for services to Shearing Sports NZ.

Launched to celebrate sporting excellence among New Zealand’s largely unsung rural athletes, the awards are sponsored by CB Norwood Distributors and presented by the New Zealand Rural Games Trust together with strategic partner, Federated Farmers of New Zealand.

Finalists were shortlisted by a judging panel chaired by former All Black captain and World Cup winning coach, Sir Brian Lochore that also included President of Shearing Sports New Zealand Sir David Fagan, Olympic equestrian medallist Judy ‘Tinks’ Pottinger, MP for Taranaki-King Country Barbara Kuriger, founder and trustee of the Hilux New Zealand Rural Games Steve Hollander plus three respected agricultural journalists, Craig ‘Wiggy’ Wiggins, Tony Leggett and Jamie Mackay who will also MC the event.