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Honouring Our Local Sporting Heroes

Back row from left: Barbara Kendall (MC), Billy Meehan, David Brougham, David Townend, Tia Temata-Frost, Peter Lampp, Bruce Hemara, and Kelly Shanks (CEO, Sport Manawatū)Front row from left: Frank Goldingham, Sally Clark, Yvette McCausland-Durie, Johanna Wood, and Russell (Rusty) Harris.

On Thursday 20 June, a special event was held to celebrate and honour the outstanding achievements and dedicated service of eleven people from our sporting community. 

Held at the Manawatū Golf Club in Palmerston North, the evening was hosted by renowned Olympian Barbara Kendall, who has competed in five Olympic Games over her illustrious sporting career. 

With 100 guests in attendance, including Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith, Tararua District Mayor Tracey Collis, representatives from Rangitāne Iwi, and current Manawatū Legends of Sport, a resounding theme from the new inductees focused on the support they received from their family and whānau which allowed them to give their significant time to their chosen sport.

Kelly Shanks, CEO of Sport Manawatū, praised the inductees for their remarkable contributions to the sporting community. "Last night was a truly special celebration of our region's rich sporting heritage. Each inductee has made an enduring positive impact on their respective sports, and their dedication and passion serves as an inspiration to us all. We are incredibly proud to honour their achievements and service."

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Established by Sport Manawatū in 2007, the Manawatū Legends of Sport acknowledges and honours the region’s greatest sporting achievers and those who have dedicated many years of service to sport; all of whom have had a significant impact on our sporting heritage. 

The inductees were honoured in two categories: Service to Sport, which recognises unwaivering support in the sporting community, and Achievement in Sport, which acknowledges exceptional performance.

2024 Manawatū Legend of Sport Inductees

Service to Sport

To be considered for induction into this category, an individual must have made a significant impact on the community and/or region through their contribution in sport and have either been born or adopted into Palmerston North or the Manawatū region or residing in or representing Manawatū when achieving their accomplishments.

Joe Frost (posthumously)

After more than four decades, Joe Frost, known for his tough but friendly coaching style, made significant contributions to basketball at the national league, club, and school levels, including Palmerston North Boys' High School and Manukura. Best known for coaching the Ubix Palmerston North team during the 1980s basketball boom, he also led school teams to national titles and had a stint coaching the Manawatū Jets.

David Townend

David Townend, with extensive credentials in sports administration, served on the Central Districts Cricket Association board and as president of the Manawatū Cricket Association, earning life membership in both. He also worked as the executive officer of the Manawatū-Wanganui Golf Association, served on the Arena Manawatū board, and made significant contributions to rugby refereeing, including roles with the Manawatū Rugby Union.

Frank Goldingham

Frank Goldingham turned his recovery from a car accident into a passion for walking, leading him to establish Walking New Zealand magazine in 1996, which has published over 300 issues. He also played a pivotal role in promoting outdoor activities, including serving as the inaugural chairman of Te Araroa Manawatū Trust for 16 years and organising the Manawatū Walking Festival, earning him the Outdoor Access Champion award for his contributions to public access to the outdoors in New Zealand.

Johanna Wood

Johanna Wood's career, marked by her dedication to family and football, has left a lasting legacy in Aotearoa, inspiring future generations, especially women and girls. Her journey from managing her son's football team to becoming the first female president of New Zealand Football and leading the campaign to bring the FIFA Women’s World Cup to New Zealand and Australia in 2023, showcases her remarkable contributions to the sport.

Peter Lampp

Peter Lampp has been a defender of Manawatū sport for one year shy of 40 years as a sports reporter and sports editor at the Manawatū Standard. He continues to write local sport with a weekly column on Stuff, undertook many overseas assignments including three All Black tours and two Commonwealth Games and still does reporting unpaid.

Russell Harris

Russell (Rusty) Harris has been a pivotal figure in sports, excelling in rugby, cricket, tennis, and hockey, and later serving as a commentator and administrator across various sports, including jetsprinting, rugby league, and motorsport. His extensive contributions to the sports community in New Zealand earned him numerous accolades and a lasting legacy in the Manawatū region and beyond.

Yvette McCausland-Durie

Yvette McCausland-Durie, a distinguished New Zealand netball coach and former player, led the Central Pulse to four consecutive grand finals and two ANZ Premiership titles, earning the ANZ Premiership Coach of the Year awards in 2019 and 2020. She has also made significant contributions as an assistant coach for the Silver Ferns, head coach for various national teams, and co-founder of TŪ TOA and MANUKURA.

Achievement in Sport

To be considered for induction into this category, an individual must have retired from international or elite sport for a number of years, having represented New Zealand in their code or participated in events deemed ‘elite’ and have either been born or adopted into Palmerston North or the Manawatū region or residing in or representing Manawatū when achieving their accomplishments.

Billy Meehan

Billy Meehan, a prominent figure in New Zealand boxing, began his journey at Kiwi Boxing Club and went on to win nine national titles in the Featherweight division, along with international success and significant contributions as a coach. He founded Meehan’s Boxing Club, serves as a Palmerston North City Councillor, and has trained 43 national boxing champions while being deeply involved in community sports and recreation.

Bruce Hemara

Bruce Hemara, a skilled and agile hooker, faced numerous setbacks in his rugby career due to the dominance of other players but eventually played for the All Blacks in 1985. After his playing career, he transitioned to coaching, including roles in Spain and as the assistant coach of the Turbos, and now serves as the rugby development coordinator and assistant coach at Palmerston North Boys’ High School.

Julie Brougham (posthumously)

Julie Brougham's remarkable equestrian career began at age four and evolved from Pony Club events to representing New Zealand in Dressage at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Her achievements included multiple national titles and setting an Australasian record, earning her widespread respect as an international athlete.

Sally Clark

Sally Clark, born in Palmerston North, began her international eventing career in 1987 and won silver in individual eventing at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. She also won gold with the New Zealand team at the 1998 World Equestrian Games, and her team received the Halberg Award for Team of the Year.

The event was a memorable evening, filled with celebration, inspiration, and recognition of these local sports legends. Sport Manawatū extends its gratitude to all who attended and supported the event, and to all the volunteers and people behind the scenes who help make sport happen in our community.

For details of all Manawatū Legends of Sport, visit www.legendsofsport.co.nz

© Scoop Media

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