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Pero Cameron Scores Top Award

PANUI PAPAHO/MEDIA STATEMENT

Te 8 o nga ra o Hakihea 2002

KI A:

Chief Reporters
Sports Editors
Maori Affairs Reporters

PERO CAMERON SCORES TOP MAORI SPORTS AWARD

World Cup basketball star Pero Cameron held off a world-class field of athletes to clinch the top prize at last night's (7/12/02) 12th annual Maori Sports Awards.

Central North Island tribe Ngati Tuwharetoa hosted the largest awards ceremony ever with more than 1400 guests attending the black-tie event at the Taupo Events Centre.

TVNZ's Maori programmes department is also producing a one-and-a-half- hour programme which will screen today - Sunday, December 8 - at either 3.30pm or 10.30pm depending on the America's Cup.

Cameron (Ngati Hine), who led the Tall Blacks to fourth place at the world basketball championships, won the supreme award - the Albie Pryor Memorial Maori Sports Person of the Year.

He was unable to attend the ceremony but family members accepted the taonga (trophy) on his behalf. Earlier that evening, Cameron beat Kiwi league captain Stacey Jones and top golfer Michael Campbell to score the Senior Maori Sportsman title.

In other awards:

- Te Watihana Walter James (Tainui, Ngapuhi) from Auckland took out the award for Maori Sports Administrator of the Year. The Papakura man organised and fundraised $70,000 for a Special Olympics rugby team to tour Japan.

- Top netball umpire Josef Brown (Ngati Porou) from Freemans Bay, Auckland, won the title of Maori Sports Umpire/Referee of the Year. In September, Brown was named in the 2003 New Zealand Umpires Squad.

- Gisborne waka ama stalwart Matahi Brightwell (Ngati Porou, Ngati Raukawa, Rongawhakaata) scooped the award for Maori Sports Coach of the Year. Brightwell coached the world champion Mareikura waka ama team.

- The winner of the inaugural Maori Sports Media Award is television producer Maraki Parata from Mauri Ora Productions in Ruatoria for his documentary, 'He Wiwi Nati', on the Ngati Porou East Coast rugby team.

- Squash players Glen Wilson and Leilani Rorani were named the Maori Sports Team of the Year after winning gold in the mixed doubles at the Commonwealth Games.

- Track and field athlete Corrine Rowe (Ngati Mutanga) from New Plymouth once again won the award for Disabled Maori Sports Person of the Year. Corrine set New Zealand records in the javelin, shotput and discus at the Parafed Games this year.

- Invercargill student Tia Mataira (Ngati Kahungunu) picked up the award for Junior Maori Sportswoman of the Year for her success in the sport of taekwondo. In the past 12 months, Tia has won both the North and South Island championships as well as placing first at the 5th Korean Open.

- North Harbour rugby star Luke McAlister (Te Atiawa) was named Junior Maori Sportsman of the Year. Luke is a North Harbour senior sevens national champion, and a member of the under-19 squad which won the World Cup in Italy earlier this year.

- Black Ferns captain Farah Palmer (Tainui) from Palmerston North beat lawn bowler Marlene Castle and rugby player/powerlifter Jackie Buckley- Gray to win the Senior Maori Sportswoman award. Her team successfully defended the Women's Rugby World Cup.

Four World Champion awards were presented to woodchoppers Jason Wynyard and Ivor Thomas, and the waka ama teams - Mareikura 'Manawaru' Under-16 Girls and the Ngatu Lakers from Ngapuhi.

Scholarships were also presented by SFRITO, ACC, Maori Education Trust, Community Employment Group and AUT.

Judges included iwi radio broadcaster Henare Pryor, Black Ferns Melodie Robinson and Louisa Wall, and TV3 journalist Bailey Mackie who is a former Maori sports co-ordinator for He Oranga Poutama.

Sponsors this year included the Trillian Trust, Te Whanau o Waipareira Trust, Land Transport Safety Authority, Human Rights Commission, UNITEC, Mighty River Power, the Wanderers Club, Fletcher Construction, Te Puni Kokiri, Te Mangai Paho and the Lion Foundation as well as SPARC and Auahi Kore.

ENDS

For more information, contact Te Tohu Taakaro o Aotearoa Charitable Trust executive director Dick Garratt on 09 278 6591 or Mai Media communications manager Vanessa Bidois on vanessab@maifm.co.nz.


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