Finalists announced for the Norwood Rural Sports Awards

A stellar line-up of rural sport athletes, representing an array of disciplines, have been announced as finalists for New Zealand’s premier celebration of rural sports – the Norwood New Zealand Rural Sports Awards.

Sir Brian Lochore, Chair of the New Zealand Rural Sports Awards Judging Panel, says the Norwood New Zealand Rural Sports Awards is about celebrating traditional sports and the people who keep events running year-in and year-out in the towns and settlements across New Zealand.

“This year’s finalists come from a range of rural sporting disciplines, including tree climbing, fencing, shearing, rodeo, endurance horses, wood chopping, gumboot throwing and, for the first time, egg throw and catch.”

“It’s a fantastic line-up of finalists, aged from 11 to 77, from those at the pinnacle of their sport internationally to those who have supported and enabled others in rural sports for generations,” Sir Brian said.

The finalists in the five prestigious award categories are:

  • The Norwood New Zealand Rural Sportsman of the Year:
    • Corey Church (Rotorua) – Rodeo
    • James Kilpatrick (Tauranga) –Tree Climbing
    • Shane Bouskill (Waipawa) – Fencing
    • John Kirkpatrick (Napier) – Shearing
  • The Skellerup New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year:
    • Maryanne Baty (Gisborne) – Shearing
    • Chrissy Spence (Morrinsville) – Tree Climbing
  • The Fonterra Young New Zealand Rural Sportsperson of the Year
    • Rebecca Birkett (Taumarunui) – Endurance Horses
    • Tegan O’Callaghan (Doubtless Bay) – Rodeo
    • Robbie Hollander (Dairy Flat) – Egg Throwing & Catching
  • The Federated Farmers Contribution to the New Zealand Rural Sports Industry
    • Jason Semenoff (Hikurangi) – Wood Chopping
    • Nick Liefting (Auckland) – Fencing
    • Jude McNab (Owaka) – Shearing
  • The inaugural Toyota Lifetime Legacy Award:
    • Paul van Beers (Porangahau) – Fencing
    • Hugh McCarroll (Whangamata) – Shearing
    • Elizabeth Mortland (Taihape) – Gumboot Throwing

Sir Brian says 2018 is the second year the awards have been held and they are only possible because of the generosity of sponsors and supporters.

Tim Myers, Chief Executive Officer at C B Norwood Distributors, says rural sports have been a key part of New Zealand life for generations.

“We’re proud to help highlight the hard work and dedication of our rural athletes but also the organisers of rural sports – the volunteers who make events happen,” says Mr Myers. “They’re the true heroes in the towns and settlements across New Zealand.”

Nominations for the awards were made by rural sports associations from throughout Aotearoa.

The judging panel is chaired by former All Black captain and World Cup winning coach, Sir Brian Lochore, who is also a founding board member of the New Zealand Rural Games Trust. The other judges are rural sports icon and 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, and respected agricultural journalists Craig ‘Wiggy’ Wiggins, Tony Leggett and Jamie Mackay, who will also MC the event.

The Awards Dinner is held on Friday March 9 at Awapuni Function Centre in Palmerston North, the night before the Hilux New Zealand Rural Games in Palmerston North where nominees and winners will be competing.

Biographies and photographs of our finalists are available on request:

For more information or to register attendance at the awards please contact:

Daniel O’Regan