Battle ahead for Matariki sports finalists

By Heeni Brown

Three leading sports stars have been chosen for the Te Waitā Award for sport at this year's Matariki awards and Sports commentator Te Arahi Maipi says it will be very hard to beat Lisa Carrington. 

Maipi says, "It's right to say she's the favourite for this award, over the past year we've seen her, not only in the last year or the past few months but since she started at the Olympics she's broken records no one has ever done."

Lisa Carrington returns to the Matariki Awards for a second shot at the Te Waitā title. The Rio Olympics K1 200m Gold and K1 500m Bronze winner saw the 27-year-old become the first New Zealand woman to win multiple medals at a single Olympic event. But Carrington's accolades don't just end there, she is also the 2017 Supreme Halberg Award winner.

30-year-old Dane Coles was the first-choice as All Black hooker in the Rugby World Cup final victory over Australia in 2015 and lead the Hurricanes for the 2016 Investec Super Rugby season.   
For the past five years, 23-year-old Tupuria King has been the National Open Men's W1 500m and 250m sprint champion and won bronze at the last World Waka Ama Sprint Championships in Brazil 2014.

"The majority of Māori and nearly all of New Zealand are Rugby lovers, but I do want to thank Tupu King who does a sport that's very well known to Māori, it's only right he should be among the finalists even if it's a sport that's not highly televised."

Last year, Nehe Milner-Scudder became the first Māori sports personality to be honoured with the Te Waitā Matariki sport's title.

Matariki Awards will be held at the Auckland War Memorial Museum July, 21.