Thursday, May 23, 2024

Howick Sports Awards: Service to Sport, Official, Administrator, Volunteer of Year finalists 

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
Leigh McKenzie of the East Skate Club has been recognised for his service to sport.

Without the efforts of officials, administrators, volunteers and those who dedicate their lives to the service of sport, the essence of competitive and community sports would be greatly diminished.

These individuals form the backbone of any sporting ecosystem, working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the smooth operation of events, the growth of talent, and the preservation of the sport’s values

This week the Times looks at the individuals nominated for the following Howick Sports Awards categories; Official of the Year, Administrator of the Year, Volunteer of the Year and Service to Sport recognitions.

Note: The period of achievements to be considered for the nominees falls between April 1, 2022, and March 31, 2023.

Official of the Year:

Cameron Wilson (Howick Pakuranga Hockey Club) 

Wilson, president of Auckland Hockey Umpires Association, is a driving force behind umpire development in 12 Auckland clubs.

He umpires in top competitions and contributed significantly to mentoring young umpires through the JUMP (Junior Umpires Mentoring Progamme) program.

Wilson won the award for 2022 Auckland Hockey Umpire of the Year and excelled as a player and coach for the Division 1 men’s senior club team, which clinched the championship.

Fiona Wansbone (Howick Pakuranga Baseball) 

Wansbone has been Howick Pakuranga Baseball’s head scorer for the last three years and has been scoring games for the club for 10 years.

Every week, she enters multiple junior games from paper score sheets into baseball’s online scoring system as well as live scoring senior games.

On top of scoring for HP Baseball, Fiona has scored games at the Baseball New Zealand Club Nationals, World Baseball Confederation U18 qualifiers and Auckland Tuatara games.

Gabriel Hernandez (Sunnyhills Tennis Club) 

Hernandez has been consistently selected to officiate at the ASB Classic for both the men’s ATP and women’s WTA events over the last four editions. He reached the finals in the past two tournaments due to his outstanding performance.

He also officiated the Davis Cup match between New Zealand and Bulgaria in February.

Additionally, Hernandez served as a Chair Umpire/Court Supervisor at various ITF Junior & Pro-events and the Junior Nationals in New Zealand, contributing to his significant presence in tennis officiating.

Steve Wilson (Special Olympics Howick Pakuranga) 

Wilson played a crucial role in integrating Special Olympics into the 2022 Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships in Auckland, providing Special Olympics athletes from New Zealand, Australia, and England a chance to compete alongside mainstream lifters.

He also successfully organized the powerlifting component of the 2023 Special Olympics National Summer Games.  Additionally, Wilson has been actively involved in promoting powerlifting within Special Olympics, managing training sessions and regional competitions, and fostering collaboration between NZ Powerlifting Federation mate  and Special Olympics NZ.


Administrator of the Year:

Bridget McLaren (Howick Gymnastics Club) 

From last year, McLaren took on the sole responsibility of customer service administrator of the Howick Gymnastics Club, looking after more than 800 members.

She handles enrolments of all new gymnasts and arranges the sale of all uniforms. She is also competition organiser, both planning events and entering members into other local clubs.

Janine Blackmore-Bedford (Revills Boxing Gym) 

In 2022/2023 Blackmore-Beford worked tirelessly to organise sponsorship for the boxers at Revills Boxing Gym who had international competitions, with boxing very much being a self-funded sport. She also arranges gym uniform and boxing squad equipment to ensure all athletes have the right gear and look sharp doing the sport they love.

Blackmore-Bedford is one of the unsung heroes of the gym and a true example of the gym motto: “creating champions inside and outside the ring”.

Louisa Smith (Pakuranga Athletic Club) 

Louisa Smith.

Smith joined the Pakuranga Athletic Club in 2008, and 10 years later took on the roles of both secretary and treasurer of the management committee.

Louisa also became a C grade official, officiating on behalf of the club at Athletics Auckland events and was the section’s chief official at Club Champs to sign off new records.

From ordering and collecting uniforms, arranging gifts and cards to running the tuck shop, Smith keeps the club running efficiently.

Melanie Nicol (Fencibles United AFC) 

Melanie Nicol.

Nicol has dedicated over nine years to Fencibles, filling various roles from uniform manager to board member.

Her exceptional administrative skills, including reconciling payments, sending out invoices, applying for funding and paying bills have been instrumental in the club’s success.

Without her behind-the-scenes work, Fencibles would not be able to have as many local children playing football as they do.


Volunteer of the Year: 

Ben Bongiovanni (Bucklands Beach AFC & Howick Pakuranga Baseball) 

Ben Bongiovanni.

A dual nomination for his efforts with BBAFC and HP Baseball, Bongiovanni is a standout volunteer.

He assists with field preparation, coaches junior teams and serves as a ball boy, as well as still finding time to play.

He’s won numerous awards, including BBAFC’s 2022 volunteer of the year and HP Baseball’s Dingwall trophy for six consecutive years, recognizing his contributions to the club beyond just playing.

The 14-year-old also juggles a demanding study schedule, multiple games, and representative team selection.

Jai Hira (Howick Pakuranga Hockey Club) 

Hira, a dedicated board member for HPHC, plays a pivotal role in coordinating the club’s coaching program, supporting coaches across all age groups.

He’s also a successful coach and player in the Division 4B men’s team and assists the premier men’s team.

Jai’s contributions extend to fundraising, community-building, and providing physiotherapy support to players. His exceptional commitment earned him the Best All-Rounder Shield at the HPHC prizegiving in 2022.

Leonie Moore (Howick Netball Club) 

Moore’s seven-year journey with the Howick Netball Club began as a supportive mum but transformed her into a vital club member.

She’s worn multiple hats, including coach and manager, always driven by her passion for players’ well-being.

Over the past year, Moore took on the role of club president while managing three teams and running fitness programs in the off season.

She recently joined the Howick Pakuranga Netball Centre (HPNC) committee to continue working on building the presence of Netball in the local area.

Venice Daniels (Pakuranga Jaguars Rugby League) 

Venice Daniels, a dedicated member for over 20 years, has made an immense impact on the Pakuranga Jaguars Rugby League Club.

Her tireless efforts in setting up fields with her five children, organising events, and managing senior games highlight her exceptional commitment.


Service to Sport:

Aaron Martin (East Skate Club) 

Aaron Martin.

The force behind the promotion of wheeled sports in east Auckland and founder of the East Skate Club Martin has driven multiple successful projects including the newly constructed halfpipe in Lloyd Elsmore Park last year.

Brian Long (Counties Manukau Orienteering) 

Long’s orienteering journey began in 1978. He held key positions in orienteering clubs and passionately expanded the sport in Auckland.

Brian’s mentorship of young orienteers, especially through the Eastern Sprint Series, has been pivotal. He facilitated relationships, planned events, and boosted participation in CMOC’s school initiatives.

His retirement in 2022 has brought changes and challenges to orienteering’s future.

Colin Horgan (Howick Pakuranga Hockey Club) 

Colin, a 20-year HPHC club member and board member, introduced coaching clinics for returning women players, successfully integrating them into the division 3 team.

In 2023, he continued this program and coached a successful youth girls’ team.

Colin’s involvement in the running of the HPHC club day and years of service earned him recognition at the Howick Volunteers awards earlier this year.

David Pasco (Bucklands Beach AFC) 

David Pasco.

Pasco’s journey with BBAFC began in 2004 as a parent, eventually managing and coaching teams, securing titles, and captaining the Thunderbirds to Division Titles.

He served as Treasurer on the BBAFC Exec Committee for a decade and became Vice President in 2022.

Last year, Pasco earned the prestigious Yellow Jacket, the highest accolade award at BBAFC, for his dedication and positive influence on the club’s culture.

Desiree Jenkins-Allright (Howick Pakuranga Cricket Club) 

Jenkins-Allright, aka “Mumma Llama,” has dedicated 20+ years to the HPCC, significantly contributing to the premier women’s squad’s success.

Her unwavering support, scoring prowess, and iconic presence at games have garnered immense respect.

Her life membership nomination this year was met with widespread support, recognising her invaluable role in women’s cricket.

Ian Davies (Fencibles United AFC) 

Ian Davies.

Davies has spent 19 years at Fencibles, transitioning from a player to vice chairman.

His football expertise and role in coaching staff appointments have been pivotal.

He spearheads the new Busway project and invests extensive personal time.

Davies meticulously maintains fields, oversees BBQs, games, and club functions, all while balancing a full-time job.

Jono Frankle (Cockle Bay Tennis Club) 

Jono’s remarkable journey at Cockle Bay Tennis Club spans over two decades.

He was a member of the club’s first men’s singles team to be promoted to promotion/relegation interclub.

As Head Coach and leader, he mentored emerging talents and managed the Caro Bowl team to a triumphant 2019 season.

Jono’s dedication culminated in his role on the Management Committee, and he now envisions an even brighter future as a potential Trustee for the merged Cockle Bay Tennis Club and Howick Squash Club under the Meadowland Recreation Charitable Trust.

Leigh McKenzie (East Skate Club) 

Leigh McKenzie.

Leigh ‘Squeak’ McKenzie, a professional vertical skater, actively teaches skateboarding to youth, serves as a role model, and supports the East Skate Community and Girlskate movement.

As the most experienced and knowledgeable in the East Skate Club, McKenzie’s a dedicated figure in the community, known for his mentorship, encouragement, and commitment to safety, making him a vital asset and respected authority.

Lorena Ennor (Cockle Bay Tennis Club)

Ennor’s enduring commitment to the Cockle Bay Tennis Club has made her an integral part of its community.

Since joining in 2001, she has tirelessly served on the management committee, organized events, maintained the facility, and even took on the role of Club Captain this year.

Lorena’s dedication truly makes her the backbone of the club.

Vinson Chao Yu (Multi Sports) 

Vinson Chao Yu.

Vinson Chao Yu, a Howick 175 Ambassador doubles as a valuable asset in the community’s sport.

Vinson engages with Sport Auckland to deliver multi-sport and recreation activities to the local community weekly.

He has organised countless events from skateboard give-it-a-go days to NZ Asian Football tournaments which hosts around 350 players from more than 10 ethnic backgrounds.

More from Times Online


- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -