The Downer Tararua Sports Awards deemed a success celebrating the sporting community in the Tararua district. This year we held the awards at the Eketahuna Community Centre. We are pleased to announce the finalists  and Winners for the 2019 Downer Tararua Sports Awards


The Downer Tararua Sports Awards is proudly sponsored by



Bush Telegraph Administrator / Volunteer of the year


Peter Sinclair – Dannevirke Sports Clubs (Various Codes)
Pete volunteers at at the Dannevirke Sports Club all year round. In the winter he’s managing football, organising kit and sorting buses, even preparing the playing surface and lines, all while maintaining his own playing position as the backbone of the Dannevirke Rangers Team. In the summer he’s rolling, fertilising and preparing the cricket wicket. Wherever there’s a club or community need in Dannevirke is where you’ll find Pete Sinclair.

Liesha Atkinson – Hockey
Liesha is President of the Eketahuna Women’s Hockey Club but her role extends well beyond that of Club President. She is chief organiser, fundraiser, equipment sorter, sponsorship and uniform manager and super motivator. She was instrumental in growing membership, organises prize-givings, sorts pre-season matches, transport and social events. She is also heavily involved in coaching junior hockey and organising feeder competitions. Nothing curbs her enthusiasm!

Eru Rautahi – Basketball 
Eru is the administrator for the Dannevirke Social Basketball League. He is involved with all forms of the competition from start to finish. Eru played a massive role in getting Dannevirke community teams to national tournaments and he uses basketball as a platform to open doors and opportunities for youth and adults in our community.

Bob Fryer – Karate
Three generations of families have learnt karate from 5th Dan karate instructor Bob, but his involvment in the sport goes well beyond his role as a coach. He is supportive of young people going through difficult times, he sources uniforms at cost and helps with gradings and competitions. He always gives his time freely and this year he happily travelled to Tararua College to assist on their CACTUS programme.Tammy has been targeted by Triathlon NZ as a pathway to podium HP coach. A large number of her athletes have excelled on the International and National stage. Their results are too numerous to mention.





Tararua District Council Official of the year


Rebecca Mahoney – Rugby Union Official
It was a busy year for Bex who refereed at the 7’s World Cup in San Francisco and the Commonwealth Games in Australia. A highlight was being the first woman to ref a men’s first-class game. Bex is a great promotor of rugby, a sought-after speaker and mentor to many.

Carole Isaacson – Equestrian Official
Carole is a Royal Agriculture Society of New Zealand Equestrian Showing Grade One Judge and Tutor Judge. She is on the New Zealand Riding Pony Society Board and is a NZ Riding Pony Assessor. In the 2018 Show season Carole officiated at many shows throughout the country, often travelling great distances to do so!



Property Brokers Team of the year


Dannevirke Tigers U13 Rugby League Team
The Dannevirke Tigers Under 13s went through the pool rounds in the Manawatu Rugby League Under 13s Youth Grade undefeated and then beat the Palmerston North Kia Ora Warriors in the finals to take the title. Seven players from the team were selected in the Manawatu Under 13s Mustangs and competed at the Upper Central Zone Tournament. In September the team played in the New Zealand Maori Rugby League Under 13’s Teina Tournament in Rotorua, finishing in 3rd place.

Tararua College Equestrian Team
The newly formed Tararua College Equestrian team won the senior division at the Solway College Inter-School Dressage Event in September. The team comprising of Jess Schnell, Grace Groasdale, Ashley Morrison, and Ella Rankin, won the senior team award for their combined marks beating out 25 other teams, involving 130 horses and 120 riders

Dannevirke High School Equestrian Team
The Dannevirke High School Equestrian Team has amassed a number of successful results, punching well above their weight. They hold their own inter-school event in February which is attended by many schools from Wairarapa, Manawatu, Wanganui and Hawkes Bay. At the Dannevirke High School Prizegiving in 2018 they were awarded team of the year.

Tararua College Premier Girls Basketball Team
The Tararua College Premier Girls Basketball Team won the Schick Premiership Central/Lower North Island Secondary Schools Cup in September 2018 in Whanganui. An incredible feat for a team who started the season short on numbers and with a new coach on board, they won all their games at tournament including the championship match 83-31.



New World Dannevirke Coach of the year


Chris Vaughan – Basketball
Chris coached the Tararua College Senior Girls Premier Team who won the Schick Premiership Central/Lower North Island Secondary Schools Cup in Whanganui in 2018. Despite setbacks with finances, accommodation and personnel, Chris’s dogged determination and tenacity was rewarded with his team winning all their games, including the final by a huge 52 points. This result has been a huge confidence builder for the team, lifting morale and self-belief.

Kevin Laskey – Cycling
Kevin Laskey (Kev Dog) unselfishly dedicates his time to coaching and mentoring anyone who shows an interest in cycling. He coached Madi Hartley Brown and Max Taylor through to some great results in their respective fields. Kev and his team of helpers also facilitate and run the annual Bush Cycle tour with over 150 riders competing in this race.

Peter Arnott – Squash
It’s not hard to find outstanding results from Peter’s athletes. In 2018 he was awarded Central Squash Coach of the Year. In the Prince Junior Series 7 of the 16 highest points earners were coached by Peter. He also coached most of the Dannevirke E Womens Team, who won the Central Super Champ Competition.

Janelle Toheriri – Hockey
Janelle was coach of the Manawatu under 13A girls hockey team who finished 13th at their National Tournament in North Harbour in October. She also coached the Bush Junior Turf team in the Manawatu Intermediate Hockey competition. They started the season in Division 2 but were promoted to Division 1 after the first round and went on to be overall winners in the Division 1 Grade.



MCI & Associates Junior Sportswoman of the year


Ella Rankin – Equestrian
Ella competes almost every weekend at A & P Shows throughout the North Island during the show season. In 2018 she won the NZ Horse of the Year 138cm Show Pony of the Year, 138cm & Under Paced & Mannered Pony of the Year, was runner Up Child Rider 12 – 15 years & Runner Up Rising Star Saddle Hunter Pony of the Year. Ella also competed at the Show Horse Council Show held at the Taupo Equestrian centre where she qualified to compete at the Grand Nationals held in Sydney this April.

Sophie Oswald – Basketball
Sophie is a gifted basketball player with her height and extraordinary wingspan enabling her to play basketball at a level far beyond her years. She is one of the top talents in the Manawatu region. She played for the Tararua College Premier Girls Basketball team who won the Schick Premiership Central/Lower North Island Secondary Schools Cup and she was also selected in the Manawatu U23 Women’s team.

Stephanie Walker – Harriers
Stephanie has an impressive list of running results for the past year in both regional and New Zealand events. The 16 year old, year 12 student at Dannevirke High School is a consistent achiever for both her school and the Dannevirke Harrier Club.

Leah Powick – Basketball
Another top basketball talent, Leah is a the captain of the Tararua College Premier girls team who won the Schick Premiership Central/Lower North Island Secondary Schools Cup. She’s a member of the Manawatu U17 girls team who placed 4th at Nationals, and the Manawatu U23 women’s team. Leah trialled for the New Zealand U16 girls’ team in April and just missed the cut for the final 12 girl squad.

Leah Powick – Athletics
Leah is multi-talented sports woman. She focuses on basketball in the winter months but switches to athletics for the summer and she has also enjoyed success on the track. Leah won the intermediate girls 100m and 200m double at the Manawatu Secondary School Athletics Champs in March 2018.



Scanpower Disabled Sportsman of the year


Chris Arbuthnott – Swimming
In 2018 Chris represented NZ at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, attended the High altitude camp in Flagstaff, competed in Tokyo and then came home and claimed a new NZ record in the NZ Short Course Championship to finish the year on a high. He holds a 2018 World Ranking of 1st in 200M Butterfly.

Madi Hartley-Brown – Swimming
Madi is a dedicated young cyclist committed to his sport. He represented New Zealand at the Oceania Road Race Champs in Tasmania Australia, the Lachine Criterium in Montreal, Canada and the Tour De La Abitibi in Quebec Canada. He placed well in his respective races.

Jacahn Roberts – Softball
Jacahn competes in representative softball for Manawatu in both regional and national tournaments. He is a member of the under 15 Developing Sox Softball Team that represented New Zealand in Mackay, Queensland, Australia in September last year.

Caleb Johnson – Rugby
In 2018 Caleb was selected for the Hawkes Bay under 16 Development team, travelling to the Bay for trainings twice a week every week. At the end of this season Caleb played in the Hurricanes tournament with the team finishing second to Wellington.




Churchyard Physiotherapy Junior Sportswoman of the year


Megan Hull – Hockey
Megan has been an identified NZ Hockey Rep since she was 16, is part of the pathway to Podium Programme and a reciepient of the Sir Peter Blake Scholarship. She was a member of the NZ Hockey Development Squad from January to October 2018 and was selected for the NZ Black Sticks Squad in November 2018.

Jeff Gatchell – Croquet
Dannevirke local Jeff represents our district well at a local, national and international level. In 2018 he finished 10th in the NZ Open, 6th in the NZ U21s and 3rd in the NZ Invitational. He has been selected to play in the NZ Invitational (which is the top 20 players in NZ) in 2019.

Doug Isaacson – Equestrian
At the age of 71 Doug is still competing successfully in elite Show Jumping events in NZ, picking up wins and placings in the Lower North Island Show Jumping Circuit, and at Grand Prix level during the 2018 season. He finished 4th at the Feilding Indoor A&P Summer Show Grand Prix and 4th at the Wairarapa A&P Spring Show Grand Prix.

Moe Hussian – Muay Thai
In 2018 Moe won the International Kickboxing Federation (IKBF) New Zealand Super Heavy Weight Title of NZ, the New Zealand Muaythai Federation (NZMF) Super Heavy Weight Title of NZ, was King of the Ring contender in 4 man and took home a silver medal at the IFMA Muaythai World Champs in Thailand. A great year for a very dedicated fighter!



NZ Natural Clothing Personality of the year




Downer Supreme Winner