Water Sports dominate Māori Sports Awards

By James Perry

Canoe racer Lisa Carrington (Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Ngāti Porou) wins 5th Rongomaraeroa award, capping off a successful night on and in the water.

Carrington won 4 medals at the World Canoe Championships in Portugal this year. Carrington was unable to accept the award in person on Saturday, however, her coach Gordon Walker, on accepting the Hineahuone award for Senior Sportswoman that she also won said she is the only paddler, "male or female to win 8 consecutive world championships in K1," which she achieved at the meet in Portugal.

Her award wins came at the end of an evening that saw 5 other athletes or coaches involved in water based sports accept awards, and 5 individual world champions were also acknowledged.

Horouta Hoe Waka coach Kiwi Campbell (Ngāti Porou, Tūhoe, Te Whānau a Apanui) won the Maru o Tūmatauenga award for coach of the year, the second time she has received the award, beating out Black Ferns 7s coach Alan Bunting, Silver Ferns coach Noeline Taurua and Squash coach Glen Wilson. Her club accumulated the most points of any club to be crowned champions. Campbell told Te Kāea after receiving her award she was "very honoured to be a part of such a select group." Of winning the award for the second time, she says "it's pretty magical, and if you keep spinning out great results then people will notice you and acknowledge those moments."

The honours didn't end there for Horouta Hoe Waka, with one of their paddlers, Gaibreill Wainohu (Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Ngāti Kahungunu) won the Tamawahine a Papatuanuku award for junior sportswoman, after winning 7 gold medals in Tahiti. Wainohu, who is also an aspiring rugby player describes her grandfather Guy Wainohu and her 'aunty' Kiwi Campbell as her inspiration in Waka Ama, "they've both being in Waka Ama for a very long time and no matter what age they are, they just keep pushing, keep getting out there showing us young ones how it's done," she said.

Waka Ama also picked up the Sportsperson with a disability award. Kāti Mamoe and Kai Tahu paddler Marcus Thompson was presented the Toi Huarewa Award for his achievements in Tahiti. With Commonwealth Games javelin thrower Holly Robinson and para-swimmer Cameron Leslie also named as finalists, Thompson says he wasn't expecting to win the award, however, it was "an amazing surprise." He dedicated his award to his late grandmother who recently passed away, as well as his family who he says inspired him to give Waka Ama a try.

Rounding out the night for the water sports, Waikato swimmer Lewis Clareburt picked up the Tama a Ranginui award for the junior sportsman. Clareburt was a late inclusion in the swim team for the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April, however, he won a bronze medal in the 400m individual medley, 

Māori TV will be broadcasting a highlights package of the award ceremony tonight at 6 pm.

For a full list of award winners, click here.