Norwood New Zealand Rural Sports Awards

New Zealand’s premier celebration of our rural sporting athletes

13 March 2020, Awapuni, Palmerston North

New Zealand Rural Sportsman of the Year Award

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New Zealand Rural Sportswoman of the Year Award

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Young New Zealand Rural Sportsperson of the Year Award

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Outstanding Contribution to the New Zealand Rural Sports Award

Lifetime Legacy

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The Allflex Sir Brian Lochore Memorial Award for Outstanding Sportsperson from a Rural Background

(Inaugural award in 2019)
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2019 Winners

~ The Fonterra Young New Zealand Rural Sportsperson of the Year ~

Bradley McDowell

Bradley McDowell of Whanganui: Bradley first started cowboy shooting at 12 years old, and has been New Zealand junior champion in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Bradley is currently New Zealand North Island overall men’s champion, New Zealand overall men’s champion, Wyoming State junior champion, 2018 World junior champion, 2018 Worlds fastest junior cowboy title, and is currently ranked seventh in the World overall men’s Championships. Bradley achieved his World title at the age of 16 and is youngest New Zealand shooter to do so. Bradley’s goal is to become the world’s number one shooter and to get more young people introduced to the sport in New Zealand.

~ The Norwood New Zealand Rural Sportsman of the Year ~

Tony Bouskill

Tony Bouskill of Napier: Tony won the Wiremark Golden Pliers in 2018, after coming second and third in the previous two years. He and father Shane have teamed up to win the doubles competitions at the Fieldays Silver Spades competition twice, and he has won the Taumarunui Fencing Competition for the last four years in a row and had three wins at the Waverley competition. In 2018 Tony took out titles at the Taumarunui A&P Show, the Wiremark Golden Pliers and Silver Spades at Fieldays, Hawke’s Bay A&P Show doubles competition and Cambridge A&P Show doubles competition, and was second in the Central Districts doubles competition. He also qualified to compete at World Power Fencing in Germany 2019. The Wiremark Golden Pliers is recognised worldwide as the premium fencing championship. Tony was first off the line (fastest time) which combined with winning the overall title was a significant combination. Only five competitors, including Tony, have managed to achieve this combination over the history of the competition.

~ The Skellerup New Zealand Rural Sportswoman of the Year ~

Pagan Karauria

Pagan Karauria of Alexandra: Last year, Pagan achieved Master Woolhandler status, and took out the Open Woolhandling title at the New Zealand Merino Shearing and Woolhandling Championships for the third time in four years. This would be a major achievement for anyone, but it comes 10 years after a devastating car accident that left her with a broken back. Pagan has fought back from that injury to take the 2018 New Zealand crossbred lambs woolhandling championship in Winton, the first Royal Easter Show Open final in Auckland, and her third New Zealand Merino Championships Open title in four years in hometown Alexandra. Her aim for this season is to win a spot in the Shearing Sports New Zealand team for the World Championships in Le Dorat, France, in July.

Recently Pagan featured in the New Zealand documentary film She Shears, focusing on women making their way in shearing. Pagan has also been a successful competitive shearer, winning many titles in recent years.

~ The Levno Contribution to New Zealand Rural Sports Industry Award ~

David James

David James of Blenheim: David James has been involved in the New Zealand National Tree Climbing Competition since 1999. He co-ordinated and ran the South Island Regional Tree Climbing Competitions for eleven years before taking over as the National Coordinator in 2010. In 2012 David joined the Asia-Pacific Tree Climbing Championship Operations Committee and was appointed chairman in 2015, a role he still holds. He is currently working on one of the biggest events the competition has seen, to be held in Christchurch Botanic Gardens in April 2019. He has represented and championed the tree climbing sector on the NZ Arb Executive Committee for nine years and represents New Zealand at the International Society of Arboriculture. David is a respected judge at the ITCC World Championship and chairman of the Asia-Pacific Tree Climbing Championship Operations Committee. His contribution to Arboricultural Tree Climbing in New Zealand has seen the sport grow from a side-line conference event to a streamlined show attracting sponsorship and international competitors. David has created a legacy of technical, scoring and regional co-ordinators. He has introduced a ‘kids-climb’ to inspire the young and a New Arborist competition to recognise and encourage excellence in those new to the industry. He also has built a network of volunteers that not only make the competitions run seamlessly, but create a community of travelling supporters alongside those competing in the events themselves.

In 2016 David introduced a Volunteer of the Year Award to the New Zealand Arboricultural Association’s annual awards to celebrate, recognise and strengthen members of this community. 

~ The Toyota Lifetime Legacy Award ~

Hugh McCarroll

Hugh McCarroll of Whangamata: At 78, Hugh is the oldest finalist. He is a former winner of the Golden Shears Intermediate shearing title in 1967 and the over-65 50th anniversary Veterans event in 2010. For 40 years Hugh has been a competition judge up to World Championships level, and provided administration to a senior international level. He is the secretary of the World Sheep Shearing Records Society, which he helped establish in 1995. Described as an “all round good bugger”, he is a life member of Shearing Sports New Zealand.

~ The Allflex Sir Brian Lochore Outstanding Sportsperson from a Rural Background ~

Sarah Hirini

Sarah Hirini (nee Goss) of Mt Maunganui: Sarah Hirini grew up in the Manawatu and learned her rugby skills at Feilding High School. She has developed into one of the leading sevens players in the world. The current Black Ferns Sevens captain has several accolades to her name including World Champion in 2013, Olympic silver medallist in 2016 and four-time World Series winner. She was named New Zealand Rugby’s woman player of the year in 2017 after her efforts in both sevens at 15s. Goss’ game is characterised by her tireless work-ethic and dogged defence.

View the 2018 Winners
View the 2017 Winners

Our Judging panel


President of Shearing Sports New Zealand Sir David Fagan

Sir David Fagan
Sir David Fagan is a New Zealand sheep shearer from Te Kuiti. Fagan has won the New Zealand Golden Shears contest a record 16 times, as well as setting 10 world records and winning numerous other world and national titles. Fagan was appointed a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2016 New Year honours, following his last season on the shearing circuit.

Taranaki-King Country MP Barbara Kuriger

Barbara Kuriger
Barbara Kuriger is was elected as the Member of Parliament for Taranaki – King Country in 2014. In 2012, she was named Diary Woman of the Year and has been a of the Boards of DairyNZ, Primary ITO Board, Taratahi, Dairy Women’s Network, and NZ Young Farmers.

New Zealand Rural Games founder and trustee Steve Hollander

Steve Hollander
Steve Hollander is the visionary behind the Hilux New Zealand Rural Games, the Property Brokers Running of the Wools and the Norwood New Zealand Rural Sports Awards. A small landowner from Dairy Flat, Steve is the driving force behind the Games. He is dedicated to raising awareness of rural sports and athletes, helping to ensure farmers and their families have fun events to look forward to and celebrating New Zealand’s rural heritage while at the same time trying to close the rural urban divide.

Rural Sports Journalist Craig ‘Wiggy’ Wiggins

Craig Wiggins
Based in rural Canterbury, Craig ‘Wiggy’ Wiggins is a MC, Sports Commentator, Rodeo Compere, Horse Trainer and Farmer and is perhaps best known for his six years commentating the FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

Rural Sports Journalist Tony Leggat

Tony Leggett
Based in Feilding, Tony Leggett was the Head of NZX Agri for almost 20 years. He owns Country-Wide and The New Zealand Dairy Exporter magazines and publishes these alongside Young Country.

Former Olympic Rowing medalist Nathan Twaddle

Nathan Twaddle

Nathan Twaddle has been fortunate to be part of the New Zealand sporting scene during a golden period of international success.  A two time Olympian, Olympic bronze medallist and world champion rower.  Since retiring in 2010 he has worked for High Performance Sport NZ helping elite athletes achieve their potential in sport and their careers. He now People Development Manager at Schick Civil Construction, a local growing firm based in Hamilton.

While Nathan will admit to being a townie, Nathan’s family has a long history of working and involvement with the rural community. His uncle Jim Ward manages Molesworth Station and his Grandfather Ron Ward farmed for many years in Southland, (alongside being an All Black and coach of a Ranfurly Shield winning Southland rugby team).  “I have great memories of time on the farm with my grandad, going to dog trials, dagging sheep, hooning around on motorbikes with my cousins, spotlighting” says Nathan. “My first couple of years trying to make the NZ team, I lived in a number of farm cottages through the generous support of local Cambridge dairy farmers Janet and Richard Myers (another All Black connection), we even raised funds by raising bobbie calves.”  I know every rural sport nominee has a passion for their sport and is often as committed as a professional athlete, I look forward to help celebrate their achievements over the coming few years.”

Fencing Legend Paul van Beers

Paul van Beers

Paul is the inaugural Toyota Lifetime Legacy Award winner at the Norwood New Zealand Rural Sports Awards: Paul retired from competing in 2016 after a fall from a horse on his sheep and beef farm. Paul’s competition career spanned the 1990s to 2016. No one else has ever – or is likely to ever again – repeat the staggering number of wins and podium finishes he had through his 31-year competitive fencing career. He has under his belt 14 Wiremark Golden Pliers New Zealand National Singles Championship Titles, 12 Fieldays Silver Spades New Zealand National Doubles Championship Titles and two Patura World Power Fencing Champion Titles. In 2014 he was half of the first father and son (Jason) combination to win the Fieldays Silver Spades. Paul continues to help drive NZFC.

The Norwood New Zealand Rural Sports Awards would not be possible without the dedication and support of:

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