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Massey to Honour Student Athletes with Blues Awards

Massey to honour student athletes with Blues awards

Finalists for the Massey University Blues Sports Awards have been announced – the highest sporting accolade given in the New Zealand tertiary system.

This year Massey is awarding 138 Blues Awards to 131 student-athletes. Seven athletes will be receiving an award in two sports.

Olympic, Commonwealth Games and World Championship Track Cycling medallist Simon van Velthooven, who is also a current Massey student, is the guest speaker at the awards, which are being held on the Auckland campus on October 19.

Known for his explosive speed and long sprint, the 28-year-old from Manawatū was recruited by Emirates Team New Zealand to provide the power that allowed the catamaran to be so competitive in Bermuda and ultimately bring the America’s Cup home to Auckland. Mr van Velthooven is currently completing his Bachelor of Applied Science, majoring in Rural Valuation and Management, via distance.

Massey University Distance Sportswoman of the Year nominees:

Brooke Donoghue – Rowing

Mary Fisher – Para-swimming

Luuka Jones – Canoe Slalom

Jessica Miller – Surf Life Saving

Melody Matheson – Equestrian

Grace Prendergast – Rowing

Massey University Distance Sportsman of the Year nominees:

Jamie Mackintosh – Rugby

Hayden Phillips – Hockey

Anton Sunde – Water Polo

Cory Taylor – Surf Life Saving

These awards are for students studying via distance learning, and highlight Massey University’s longstanding reputation for providing the highest level of flexibility, tailored to the life of the high-performing athlete. As a result of this dedication, Massey was the first in New Zealand to be named an athlete-friendly university by High Performance Sport New Zealand.

The Massey University Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards is for trophies given to athletes from each of Massey’s three campuses in Auckland, Manawatū and Wellington.

Massey University Albany Campus Sportsman of the Year nominees:

Matt Alexander - Tennis

Aaron Booth – Athletics

Massey University Albany Campus Sportswoman of the Year nominees:

Deena Franklin – Basketball

Tessa Jopp - Hockey

The story of the Blues sports awards originated in England in the mid-1890s. Fierce rivalry between Oxford and Cambridge Universities, competing in very different shades of blue, heralded the beginning of the sporting award now known as the “Blue”. It wasn’t until 1912 that the University of Cambridge formed a committee to oversee the task of awarding “Blues to those students who had excelled both on and off the field of play”.

The tradition of awarding New Zealand University Blues began in 1919, and Massey University began this tradition in 1934. In 1990, the Massey University Blues Sports Awards committee was formally constituted, and today the rich tradition of awarding Blues continues.

This year is the 30th anniversary of the inaugural presentation of the Massey University Sportsperson of the Year Award. Sport at Massey has come a long way since 1987 with the Academy of Sport opening in 2006, enabling our athletes to work with High Performance Coordinators, who provide individually-tailored support to assist with academic planning alongside sport commitments.

With a combination of on-campus, distance or mix-mode study options, and the choice of either full-time or part-time study, athletes can fit their study around their sporting commitments so they are able to participate on the international sporting stage.

Event details

Time: 6.30pm – Award presentations, entertainment, drinks and canapes
Date: Thursday October 19
Location: Atrium Round Room, Gate One, Massey University Auckland campus in Albany
Host: Former sports broadcaster Hamish McKay

The event for students from the Wellington and Manawatū campuses will be held in Palmerston North on Tuesday October 17.


• Massey University’s earliest recipient of a New Zealand Blues Award was Mac Cooper in 1934 for rugby. Previous winners include Olympians Lisa Carrington, Hamish Bond and Luuka Jones.

• Massey University was the first in New Zealand to be named an athlete-friendly university by High Performance NZ.

• 111 Prime Ministers Athlete Scholarships were awarded to Massey University athletes in 2017.


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