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NZers Urged to Nominate for Favourite Sport Stars

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From Left Television personality Hayley Marie Byrnes, Auckland Wheelchair Basketball Representative Warren Putt and Television personality Raybon Kan at the launch of the Freedom Air People’s Choice Sports Awards

3 October 2005

New Zealanders Urged to Nominate for Their Favourite Sporting Stars

Throughout October New Zealanders have a unique opportunity to nominate their favourite sports stars following the launch of the Freedom Air People’s Choice Sports Awards.

As the name suggests, the Freedom Air People’s Choice Sports Awards recognises our leading sporting heroes as chosen by the New Zealand people. Now in its second year, it is a unique way for Kiwis to make sure that their favourite sports people get the recognition they deserve. It is also a fundraising event for Paralympics New Zealand, raising more than $125,000 in 2004.

Paralympics New Zealand Patron Paul Holmes is encouraging kiwis to support the awards.

“We are passionate about sport in New Zealand because of its parallels with life’s highs and lows. The Freedom Air People’s Choice Sports Awards are the only way for Kiwis to choose their favourite sporting people and give them the recognition they deserve. It is also a great way to assist our paralympians in their quest for Beijing 2008,” says Paul Holmes.

Mixed teams of television personalities and paralympians played a “friendly” game of wheelchair basketball to launch the awards and raise awareness of the Freedom Air People’s Choice Sports Awards support for Paralympics New Zealand.

The personalities involved included Hayley Marie Byrnes, Raybon Kan, Melodie Robinson Dennis Katsanos and Brendon Pongia. Playing for the paralympians were Kate Horan, Gavin Foulsham, Tim Prendergaast, Matt Slade and Terry Faleva’ai as well as wheel breakers Rodney Bell and James Russell.

In 2005, sports fans of every code seized the chance to have a say and give the athletes of their choice the recognition they deserved. Tens of thousands of people from all over the country took part in the voting the six categories.

In 2004 the winners were:
Paralympian of the Year – Peter Martin
Sports Coach of the Year – Gorden Tietjens
Sports Team of the Year – Bay of Plenty Steamers
Sportsman of the Year – Hamish Carter
Sportswoman of the Year – Sarah Ulmer
International Team / Sports Person of the Year – Lance Armstrong

In 2005 the Freedom Air People’s Choice Sports Awards comprise six categories - Sports Team, Coach, Sporting Icon, Sportswoman, Sportsman and International.
New Zealanders will be able to nominate their choices in these categories on the Freedom Air People’s Choice Awards website (

From the thousands of nominations, the top five nominations from each category will go through to the next round. These take the form of six weekly studio-based shows on SKY Television and simulcast on Radio Sport.

The five finalists, as chosen by the New Zealand public, will be announced on the dates listed below. From announcement until voting closes on Thursday December 8th.

New Zealanders can vote for their favourite hero from the finalists in each category via SKY Television Interactive, phone 0900 33334 or text 3334. SMS, remote voting and 0900 calls all cost 99 cents including GST with proceeds from the awards will go to Paralympics New Zealand. In 2004 more than $125,000 was raised for Paralympics New Zealand.

The winner from each of the six categories as well as the overall Freedom Air People’s Choice Sports Awards Supreme Winner will be announced at a Gala Dinner at the Hyatt Regency in Auckland on Friday December 9th.

The Freedom Air People’s Choice Sports Awards are a unique partnership between SKY Television, The Radio Network and Fairfax New Zealand. The reach of these media organisations mean that no matter where people live around the country, they can participate in the selection of the winners and raise funds for Paralympics New Zealand.


Key Dates for Freedom Air People’s Choice Sports Awards

29 September Freedom Air People’s Choice Sports Awards Launch and call for nominations begins
31 October Sports Team finalists announced
7 November Coach finalists announced
14 November Sporting Icon finalists announced
21 November Sportswoman finalists announced
28 November Sportsman finalists announced
5 December International finalists announced
8 December Voting for six main categories close (midnight)
9 December Finalists parade in Queen St
9 December Gala Dinner & winners announced

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