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Winners announced at 2011 NZ Sport and Recreation Awards

Media Release

Embargoed until 10pm, Monday 18 April 2011

Winners announced at 2011 New Zealand Sport and Recreation Awards

Excellence across the sport and recreation sector has been recognised with the presentation of the 2011 New Zealand Sport and Recreation Awards in Auckland.

Jim Doyle, CEO of New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) has won the Leadership Excellence award for his role in turning the sport around.

Doyle was appointed as NZRL Chief Executive in 2009 after a turbulent time for the sport. Many of the organisation’s financial backers and sponsorship partners had deserted the sport, national and international affiliations had disassociated themselves from the organisation, and staff morale was at an all-time low.

SPARC Chief Executive Peter Miskimmin said the focus of the award is leadership shown throughout the 2010 year, and during that time, Doyle turned around a troubled sport.

“Jim Doyle is a clever guy who used his considerable commercial nous to reinvent New Zealand Rugby League,” Miskimmin said.

“He galvanised the entire league community through passion, a strong communication process and admirable leadership that deserves recognition. He got them winning on and off the field.

“He inspired new sponsors to the game, built up the game’s grassroots backbone, and is recognised by the players, staff, and the International League Federation as being a very good CEO.”

Other winners at the 2011 New Zealand Sport and Recreation Awards are:

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The Commercial Partnership Award – Integria and the New Zealand Academy of Sport (NZAS): NZAS high performance nutritionists worked in partnership with healthcare company Integria and elite athletes to develop nutritional supplements. These have benefitted a number of New Zealand athletes including Black Stick Shea McAleese, cyclist Westley Gough, and rowers Nathan Cohen, Hamish Bond and Eric Murray. The judges said this was an example of an excellent partnership, where one partner is there to help the athletes and the other to be commercially successful.

NZAS North Island Chief Executive Pete Pfitzinger says they have products in development which will ensure ongoing innovation and continue to provide a performance edge for athletes preparing for London 2012.

The Event Excellence Award – Surfing New Zealand – ISA World Junior Surfing Championship: Held in Piha from 20-28 January 2010, this event showcased more than 200 of the best under-18 surfers from around the world. The judges said Surfing New Zealand were deserving winners due to the professional way the event was run. This was the first time the event was held in Australasia and it achieved a high profile.

The Project Collaboration Award – Sport Auckland and Auckland libraries – Wriggle and Rhyme: Fifty libraries across Auckland hosted Wriggle and Rhyme classes, an initiative that provides a safe, accessible environment for parents and babies to learn early movement experiences. These classes ensure parents can learn about why movement is important from birth and also ensure children have an opportunity to participate in active movement.

The judges said this was a unique partnership between two groups which had not worked together previously. The sessions had proven very popular, and were now being introduced in other regions around the country.

The Innovation Excellence Award – New Zealand Football (NZF) – Whole of Football Plan: NZF’s Whole of Football Plan is re-inventing the way football will be delivered to New Zealanders. Global best practice was researched before a tailor-made plan for New Zealand was developed to cover all areas of the game, from volunteers, coaches and referees, to social and elite players. The judges said NZF’s whole of football plan was a world-class piece of work. Commercial funders have supported the plan, which sets a great example for other sporting organisations.

The Communications Excellence Award – Special Olympics New Zealand (SONZ): The judges said SONZ was a deserving winner as it had a clear strategy utilising different tools including social media, such as Facebook, to connect with the public. They successfully promoted local stories through community newspapers and raised the awareness of the organisation significantly. This saw a 13 percent increase in participation and a 20 percent increase in volunteers.


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