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Ōtara's sporting stars honoured

Published: 4 December 2017
The Ōtara Barbell Weightlifting club took won the supreme award at the Ōtara sports Awards.

A national champion weightlifting club has won the supreme award at the inaugural Ōtara Sports Awards. 

The Ōtara Barbell weightlifting team, which won the Olympic Weightlifting New Zealand (OWNZ) Club Champions League, was named the Team of the Year before scooping up the Supreme Award at the awards held at the Hope Centre on Saturday 2 December.

The weightlifting team has two international seniors, seven international masters and two international junior representatives and consists  of national and international champions, gold medallists and regional record holders.

“I’m extremely proud to receive this award on behalf of our club and weightlifting team who are committed and disciplined team members,” says coach Daniel Nemani. 

“We have great talent coming through and experienced competitors who are role models at our club. We’re local people that always go out to give it our best when we compete and that also means having to be great ambassadors for Ōtara just like Ruben (Wiki), Eric (Rush), Tawera (Nikau) and Temepara (Bailey).” 

Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board delivered the inaugural Ōtara Sports Awards with support from the Ōtara Business Association. 

Four New Zealand sporting greats were also honoured for their success and excellence at the highest level of their code and as recognition for their contribution to Ōtara and sports in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Rugby League heroes Ruben Wiki and Tawera Nikau, NZ Sevens legend Eric Rush and Silver Fern great Temepara Bailey (in absentia) each received a lifetime achievement award before being inducted into Ōtara’s Hall of Fame.

Otara's sporting stars honoured1
Sporting stars from left, Ruben Wiki, Eric Rush and Tawerau Nikau and netballer Temepara Bailey were inducted in to the hall of fame at the inaugural Ōtara Sports Awards.

NZ Rugby sevens legend Eric Rush offered similar sentiments.

“The Ōtara Sports Awards has been a long time coming. I’m really happy that Ōtara finally has its own sports awards because the talent in this place is unbelievable. This is a great honour to receive from the place that I call home,” he said.

Former Kiwi rugby league player Tawera Nikau paid tribute to his Ōtara upbringing for making him the person he is today. 

The people that I have interacted with like school friends, neighbours and whānau, some who are still living here, I will always be thankful for them and never forget in my life.

A full list of the winners of the Ōtara Sports Awards: 

  • Administrator of the Year: Lani Ekepati, American Football Auckland
  • Official of the Year: Lakita Morris-Meredith, American Football
  • Coach of the Year: Daniel Nemani, Ōtara Barbell Club
  • Junior Sports team of the Year: Tangaroa College, Girls 10s Rugby Team
  • Junior Sportsman of the Year: Marco Talagi, Rugby League,
  • Scorpions Junior Sportswoman of the Year: Nive Taulanga, Rugby, Rugby League, Tag, Tangaroa College
  • Masters Athlete of the Year: Mihi Joy Nemani, Ōtara Barbell Club
  • Uniquely Abled Award: Auckland Wheelbreakers, Wheelchair Basketball Team
  • Team of the Year: Ōtara Barbell Club, Weightlifting Team
  • Sportsman of the Year: George Crichton, East Tamaki Rugby
  • Sportswoman of the Year: Josephine Murray-Stowers, Touch Rugby, Tag, Netball
  • Supreme Award: Ōtara Barbell Club Weightlifting Team