Victoria celebrates highest level of sporting success

Last night Victoria University of Wellington and Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) celebrated the Victoria University Blues Awards, the highest recognition the university can give to people who have, by their sporting achievements or contribution to sport, brought credit to the university.

59 Blues Awards were presented by Victoria University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Grant Guilford, and VUWSA’s President, Jonathan Gee, held at the university’s Kelburn campus in Wellington.

Kyle Pontifex was named the 2016 Sportsperson of the Year.

Kyle is completing a Master’s of Business Administration at Victoria. In the past year Kyle has represented New Zealand in the Black Sticks – New Zealand’s Hockey team – as part of the Oceania Cup, Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, and various home tests. Kyle was also a crucial member of the Capital National Hockey League Men’s team in the winning 2015 season; and is a current member in the Capital National Hockey League Men’s 2016 team.

Joanah Ngan-Woo was awarded the 2016 Pasifika Sportsperson of the Year.

Joanah is a recent Samoa representative in the Manu Sina women’s Sevens team and New Zealand representative at the World University Sevens Tournament. Currently completing a Bachelor of Arts at Victoria, Joanah plays for the Oriental Rongotai Rugby Club and is a member of the Wellington Women’s Pride Rugby team.

Wanaka Noanoa was awarded the 2016 Māori Sportsperson of the Year.

Currently studying a Bachelor of Law and Commerce at Victoria, in the past year Wanaka has been a representative of the Wellington Under 19 Softball team and the New Zealand Under 19 Junior White Sox Softball team. She also coaches netball, and her tribal affiliation is Ngāti Porou.

Brook Walker was named the 2016 Sports Administrator of the Year.

Brook, Victoria’s Rowing Club Captain, is completing a Bachelor of Economics and Finance at Victoria. She has been instrumental in the rebrand of the club, and is one of the three lead coaches for the Wellington College Rowing Club programme and the lead coach of the Wellington College Rowing Club’s junior squad. Brooke has completed two Rowing New Zealand coaching modules, and is the sole University and Tertiary Sport New Zealand Student-Athlete Commission, Victoria University representative.

Professor Guilford commended all the recipients of Blues Awards for their dedication and success.

‘Last night’s recipients have joined an exclusive club of Victoria Blues Award winners, which includes All Blacks Graham Mourie, Victor Vito and Conrad Smith; All White Simon Elliott; World Mountain Running Champ Kate McIlroy; Hockey Black Stick Suzie Muirhead; and of course our Olympians—Ian Ferguson, Natasha Hind, Matthew Coad, Richard Joyce, and our newest Olympians—Emma Robinson, who swam in the Summer Games at Rio, and sprinter Liam Malone.’

Gee says VUWSA is very proud to work in partnership with Victoria to recognise our top athletes.

‘These awards give us the opportunity to acknowledge students who have achieved outstanding sporting success through hard-work and dedication, while successfully balancing their academic responsibilities of assignments, tutorials, labs and lectures.

‘Their ability to balance degree-level study with outstanding performance in sports is an incredible achievement.’

Blues Awards’ winners were chosen by representatives from Victoria University, VUWSA and Sport New Zealand. The Blues Panel selected winners based on how well they met strict Blues Awards criteria across each category.

The guest speaker for the evening was U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand, Mark Gilbert – a former major-league baseball player, turned businessperson, turned diplomat.

2016 Blues Awards were presented to:

Adam Burrows for Futsal

Aleksa Djorovic for Handball (Administration)

Alex Brodie for Futsal

Brook Walker for Rowing (Administration)

Cameron Webber for Futsal

Clark Samuel for Underwater Hockey

Daniel Davis for Ultimate

Elizabeth Goulden for Rugby

Eva Weatherall for Ultimate

Finn Stenner-Corbishley for Futsal

Grace Seeley for Hockey and Cross Triathlon

Hamish Thornton for Ultimate

Harriet McFetridge for Hockey

Jack Gilpin for Rowing

Jacob Matson for Athletics

James Preston for Athletics

Jess Fair for Small-bore Rifle Shooting

Jess Kerr for Cricket

Joanah Ngan-Woo for Rugby

Kiriwera Nepia-Su’a for Indoor Netball

Kyle Pontifex for Hockey

Li Yeoh for Ultimate

Maddie Palmer for Rowing (Administration)

Maddy Nash for debating

Maddy Nash for Debating (Administration)

Madeleine Aiken for Underwater hockey

Madeleine Hazleton for Handball

Madeleine Stephen for Handball

Matthew Davies for Lacrosse

Max Brown for Sprint Kayaking

Max Ruffell for Hockey

Monique Dalley for Handball

Nathan Oakley for Rowing

Navin Patel for Cricket

Nick Bielby for Ultimate

Ollie Logan for Hockey

Oscar Battell-Wallace for Debating (Administration)

Qais Fawzi for Futsal

Richard Boag for Rugby (Administration)

Richard Kay for Underwater Hockey

Rosemary Cockle for Cricket

Ross Little for Small-bore Rifle Shooting

Royden Smith for Futsal

Ruby Meagher for Debating (Administration)

Ryan Hunt for Mountain biking

Satch Pryor for Rugby League

Sauimoana Solia for Rugby

Shingo Ina for Futsal

Sian Moffitt for Rock Climbing

Sophia Johnston for Volleyball

Tai Barham for Futsal

Tamara Jenkin for Debating (Administration)

Thomas Curtis for Ultimate

Thomas Withnall for Futsal

Tristan Gregory-Hunt for Rowing

Tyler Titov-Smith for Ultimate

Vincent McQueen for Ultimate

Wai Ling Chan for Fencing

Wanaka Noanoa for Softball