A walk down memory lane - Māori Sports Awards

By Taroi Black

The Māori Sports Awards has been the most prestigious annual event since 1991 showcasing outstanding Māori sportsmen and sportswomen. Awards governor Dick Garrett says he is immensely proud of the event.

The Māori Sports Awards began at Tūrangawaewae Marae.  The patron for the event at the time was the late Dame Te Atairangikaahu. 

Dick Garrett describes how the journey started on Albie Pryor's "coat-tail" at Tūrangawaewae.  He's also amazed at how the awards have grown, from one world champion and a few recognised national players, to now 11 world champions and 47 Māori in world champion teams.

One of those champions was tennis star Rewa Harriman who took out the junior women's award in 1997 for making it to Wimbledon.

Aoteroa tennis pro Rewa Harriman says, "It's a night, an event, that celebrates our Māori champions so I was amazed to win these awards and now to watch other champions reach those same heights."

Harriman is also the only former athlete to win the Māori Sports Media Award for her coverage on the Māori All Black tour in Japan in 2014. 

"It was different to receive an award for my work. I knew when I was playing tennis that it was something I wanted to do," she says.

The awards have been held annually for almost 30 years. 

Garrett says, "It's a credit to our people to those people way back. To the whānau and parents that have stuck by and given our tamariki a chance to make it to the top." 

Garrett has confirmed the occasion will return to Tūrangawaewae Marae for the 30th anniversary in 2020.