Surf Life Saving New Zealand presented three national sports awards this morning at the 2014 New Zealand Pool Championships.
Every year, awards are given to members at the SLSNZ Awards of Excellence to officially recognise them for their hard work and dedication to Surf Life Saving in New Zealand.
The three winners honoured today are unable to attend this year's awards evening in Wellington on September 20 as they will be in France for the Lifesaving World Championships (Rescue 2014).
SLSNZ Sport Manager Mike Lord says this was the perfect opportunity to give the three winners the recognition they deserve before they depart for France.
The awards were presented by Surf Life Saving New Zealand President Neale Ames.
DHL Coach of the Year was presented to Kurt Wilson from Papamoa SLSC.
Kurt has held a number of club, regional and national coaching positions including head coach of Papamoa SLSC, the SLSNZ Under 20 International Surf Rescue Challenge team and the New Zealand Development Squad. As current head coach of the NZ Youth Team, he will also lead the team of 12 to France for Rescue 2014.
Included in Kurt's list of achievements over the past year is leading Papamoa SLSC to second place overall at the Eastern Region Senior Championships and Eastern Region Junior Championships. The club also paced third overall at Oceans 14 (the U14 National Championships) and second overall at the New Zealand National Championships.
Fellow Papamoa SLSC member Ross Merrett was awarded the DHL Official of the Year award.
Included in the list of roles he has acted in over the past year includes Event Referee at the 2013 International Surf Rescue Challenge in Japan, Arena Referee at the New Zealand National Championships and Eastern Regional championships at Whangamata.
He attended the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships as an observer of safety features and assisted with judging. He was also an Event Referee at the Eastern Regional Pool Championships and Head Judge at last year's New Zealand Pool Championships.
State Insurance International Sports Person of the Year was awarded to Black Fin and Lyall Bay SLSC member Samantha Lee.
Sam represented SLSNZ at the German Cup last year where she won five medals (three gold, one silver and one bronze), set a New Zealand and World Record as well as being named top female competitor of the competition.
She was part of the NZ Swimming team that competed at last month's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and in just over one week, she will depart with the New Zealand Team for the Lifesaving World Championships in France, where they will be looking to win the world title for the second time in a row.
The remaining national awards will be presented at the SLSNZ Awards of Excellence at the Amora Hotel in Wellington on September 20. Keep an eye out on our website and Facebook page for more information.
Lisa Honeybone, Media & Communications Specialist,
Phone 09 303 9335 or 0276 488 823