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Maori Sports Awards Honours Female Champions

Te 17 o nga ra o Whiringa-a-nuku 2003

Chief Reporters
Sports Editors
Maori Affairs Reporters


Maori women sporting heroes from the past including Wimbledon tennis star Ruia Morrison-Davy, netball stalwart June Mariu and bowls champion Millie Khan will be guests of honour at the 2003 Trillian Trust Maori Sports Awards next month (Nov).

The annual tribute to the achievements of New Zealand's top Maori athletes, coaches and administrators will be marked with a black-tie ceremony for more than 1200 community, sports, political and corporate leaders at the Auckland Showgrounds on Saturday, November 29.

The annual Tamariki Sports and Cultural Day will again be held a day before the awards on Friday, November 28, and hosted this year by Te Kura Kaupapa Maori a Rohe o Mangere.

Elite athletes such as Temepara Clark, Eric Rush, Farah Palmer and Daniella Smith as well as kaiwhakahaere from He Oranga Poutama will take part in sporting activities including traditional Maori sports and weaponry demonstrations with more than 1200 youngsters from kura kaupapa Maori (Maori language immersion schools) predominantly from South Auckland as well as Waitakere, North Harbour and Auckland.

Te Tohu Taakaro o Aotearoa executive director Richard (Dick) Garratt says the theme of this year's awards is 'Te Maru o Mahuika' and a special table has been set aside for Maori women sporting champions from the past. The trust's vision is to establish a Maori Sports Hall of Fame.

As well as Ruia Morrison-Davy, June Mariu and Millie Khan, other guests of honour will include Margaret Hiha (hockey), Francis Taumata nee Pere (golf), Rebecca Chaplow nee Faulkner (netball), Neti Traill nee Davis (table tennis), Mert Solomon (netball/hockey) and Janine Bidois nee Maxwell (netball).

"Mahuika is the guardian of fire who had five children to Auahi-tu-roa," Mr Garratt explains. "The person that receives this attribute is a person with no fear, a person with guardianship, a person that ignites her authority. This is the realm of Mahuika - Te Maru o Mahuika."

Judges Henare Pryor, Bob Newsome, Te Aroha Keenan and Melodie Robinson will select the winners from a high-class field of finalists to be announced at the end of this month (Oct).

Awards include coach, disabled sportsperson and administrator of the year, Maori sportsman and sportswoman of the year, and the supreme award, the Albie Pryor Memorial Maori Sports Person of the Year. A range of scholarships will also be presented on the night.

Mr Garratt urges people to contact the awards office direct on 09 278 6591 for table and ticket sales. "Don't leave it too late as they are starting to sell fast," he says.

The Trillian Trust is the naming rights sponsor again this year with support from LTSA, ALAC, ACC, CEGs, Te Puni Kokiri, SPARC, Manukau City Council, Fletcher Construction, Mighty River Power, Te Whanau o Waipareira, UNITEC, AUT, Carich, Lion Breweries, Auahi Kore, Wanderers Club, Actives Charitable Trust, Sky City Community Trust and the Lion Foundation.


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