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The Avantidrome set the stage for the Wallace Corporation University of Waikato (UOW) Blues Awards (also known as the Blues Awards) on Friday night, with the infield of the Avantidrome full of life as people flocked in to celebrate the commitments and achievements of students and acknowledge their contribution to the UOW.
The “Blue” is a prestigious award for excellence in sport or creative and performing arts, recognising national excellence through to world champions as well as non-students who play a valuable role in university sport or the creative and performing arts scene, either through coaching or administrating. It seemed a great fit to have the Blues Awards held at a venue that showcases a world class sporting facility and the level that the New Zealand sport industry is reaching.
This year, more than 60 Blues Awards were given out for high achievement in sport and arts. Award winners represented a range of disciplines, from softball to diving, kapa haka to music composition. The Blues Awards, which saw more than 200 guests in attendance, are one of the UOW’s most prestigious awards and one of its strongest traditions.
Caleb Shepherd, coxswain for the New Zealand Men’s Eight who recently took out the fourth place position at the Rowing World Championships held in France this August and qualifying the Eight for the Olympics, was the recipient for the 2015 Sportsman of the Year. While elite rower Zoe Stevenson received the Sportswoman of the Year Award after her exceptional performances on the world stage this year – she has placed first at World Cup regattas in Italy and Switzerland, as well as winning the Women’s Double Sculls at the Rowing World Championships in Amsterdam.
Tupuria King was presented with the Maori Person of the Year Award. Tupuria is this year’s 250 metre, 500 metre and long distance New Zealand National Waka Ama Champion. Tupuria has competed internationally in Tahiti, New Caledonia, Hawaii, Australia and California USA in 2015 alone. Catherine Kwak was awarded the Creative and Performing Arts Person of the Year. Earlier this year Catherine travelled to the Johansen International Competition in Washington and made the semi-finals, as well as this, she was invited to perform at the Euro Arts Music Festival and Academy in Germany.
Check out more pictures of the night in our gallery.
Other major awards presented on the night:
University Club of the Year – Hamilton Star University Cricket Club
Don Llewellyn Trophy Sports Team of the Year – University of Waikato Premier Netball
Sports Coach of the Year – Roger Randle (Waikato 7’s coach)
Creative and Performing Arts Tutor of the Year – Nathaniel Smorti (current student and community music teacher)
Service Award – Laichyn Parkinson
Margaret Nicholson Long Service Award (10 years or more service) – Mark Commins (Life Member of Hamilton Star University Cricket Club)
Creative and Performing Arts Group of the Year – Quattro (University of Waikato student cello group