Silver Fern coach Noeline Taurua and world champion canoeist Lisa Carrington have been awarded the supreme award Rongmaraeroa at the Māori Sports Awards last night.
For Carrington (Te Aitanga ā Māhaki, Ngāti Porou), it is another accolade in yet another dominant year of competition. The Tauranga 30-year-old and 2016 Halberg Supreme Award winner won the K1 500 and 200 finals in Szeged, Hungary earlier this year, with the 200 title being her scarcely believable seventh in a row.
She has also won two Olympic gold medals and will be aiming for another next year in Tokyo.
Taurua (Ngāpuhi) has been in charge of the greatest sporting turn around in recent times, guiding the Silver Ferns to World Championship glory just one year after they were dumped out of the Commonwealth Games without a medal.
She was passed over by Netball NZ for the top job despite coaching the Waikato-BOP Magic to the only Kiwi ANZ Championship win in 2012, then coaching the Sunshine Coast Lightning to back-to-back Suncorp Super Netball Premierships. Taurua also won the Te Waitā award for sport in this year’s Matariki Awards.
“It’s not until I actually come home that I feel the full effect or impact and you know it’s really humbling… but it’s so amazing for our sport,” she told Te Ao last night at the Vodafone Events Centre.
Meanwhile, Carrington acknowledged the importance of the Māori Sports Awards.
“I guess as I get older I understand more and more the importance of these awards, I guess what is hard is, you know, being in the spotlight a little bit. It’s always something that I don’t like to do a lot ,so I think what I love when I come here is seeing the other sports people and their supporters, that brings me a lot of pride.”
Taurua is relocating back to Aotearoa to continue with the Ferns' role, while Carrington is looking forward to the next Olympic challenge.
“Training never stops and as soon as that January the 1st hits it's back in Auckland and training on Lake Pupuke,” she said.