A New Zealand rugby league great and a Samoan rugby legend will be inducted to the Hall of Fame at the 2019 Ōtara Sports Awards.
New Zealand rugby league great Dean Bell and legendary Manu Samoa captain Papali’itele Peter Fatialofa will both be recognised with lifetime achievement awards before being inducted into the Hall of Fame at the awards ceremony on Saturday 30 November at Kia Aroha College.
While Fatialofa will be inducted posthumously, Bell will attend the prestigious event which honours the sporting achievements of Ōtara sportspeople including athletes, administrators and coaches.
Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board, which is a long-term supporter of the sports awards, says that it is proud to recognise and celebrate the achievements of the legendary sportsmen for their outstanding careers and contribution to their respective sporting codes.
“Dean and Papali’itele embodied Ōtara community values and a true trailblazer spirit. They both harnessed their homegrown talents to captain their countries and build great careers which inspired players and supporters around the world,” Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board member Lotu Fuli said.
The judges' panel selected the accomplished duo for their sporting excellence and success at the highest level of Rugby League and Rugby Union.
Dean Bell, who grew up on Clarkson Crescent in the area and attended local schools Mayfield Primary School, Bairds Intermediate and Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate said that he was honoured to be recognised as an inductee to the Hall of Fame at the 2019 Ōtara Sports Awards.
“I will always be grateful for my Ōtara upbringing. It’s a place that instilled old-school values that I’ve applied successfully during my sporting career in Australia, England, New Zealand and throughout life.”
Fatialofa resided on Cobham Crescent before moving to Preston Road and then Charntay Ave during the period he played provincial rugby for Auckland and at the 1991 Rugby World Cup. Post-career, he coached at East Tamaki Rugby Club and completed his coaching certificate at Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate.
“Our family are truly humbled by this esteemed honour for our late father,” says Jeremiah Fatialofa, the oldest of nine children.
“He was a proud Ōtara man who had a big heart to serve the community through rugby. He gave his best to help East Tamaki Rugby Club and also provide opportunities to young people in the area to make a career in the game he loved.”
Bell and Fatialofa are the latest inductees to the illustrious Hall of Fame. They join Ruben Wiki, Tawera Nikau (both Rugby League), Eric Rush (NZ Sevens) and Temepara Bailey (Silver Ferns) of the Class of 2017. Brett Leaver, Mark Leaver (Black Sticks Hockey) and Monique Hirovanaa (Black Ferns) make up the Class of 2018.
Nominations for the 2019 Ōtara Sports Awards can be submitted at here and close at 7pm on Sunday, 3 November 2019. Candidates must have been a member of a club, school or live in the Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board's Ōtara subdivision in the qualifying period. All winners for the 13 sporting categories will be announced at the awards ceremony.