Nelson Hockey's Heather Bryant accepts Anita's award on Saturday. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Nelson celebrates sport stars


Anita McLaren took home the big prize at the 2018 ASB Nelson Sports Awards on Saturday night.

The Black Sticks star was named the Sportsperson of the Year and Sportswoman of the Year at the annual awards to cap a sensational year.

Anita called curtains on her esteemed career this year after winning gold at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. Anita has amassed a record 271 caps for the Black Sticks as well as netting another record 105 goals.

Heather Bryant from Nelson Hockey accepted Anita’s award and says Anita has had an extraordinary career.

She says Anita was gutted she could not attend the awards as she had children commitments in Auckland.

“She is a real hometown girl, she still calls Nelson home and is a role model for all the kids here.”

Anita spoke via video saying the award was the icing on the cake following her retirement.

“I am so proud, so humbled, to all the other nominees, congratulations, you do Nelson proud.”

Heather says Anita was privileged to be able to achieve what she has in the sport she loves. “She is a credit to the sport and to the region.”

Elsewhere, New Zealand Sevens superstars Trael Joass and Andrew Knewstubb shared the Sportsmen of the Year award and fellow New Zealand sevens World Champion Risaleaana Pouri-Lane was named the Junior Sportswoman of the Year.

The Tasman Men’s Rugby Sevens Team were named Team of the Year after its best-ever finish on the national circuit, and softballer Joshua Kelly took out the Junior Sportsman of the Year for his efforts on the world stage.

The Waimea College Go412 Adventure Racing Team took out the coveted Junior Sports Team of the Year award against stiff competition.

In the master’s category, New Zealand waka ama silver medallist Kereama Payn won Master’s Sportsperson of the Year after he finished fourth in the World Championships in Tahiti and Nelson Athletics coach Dennis Kale claimed the crown of best coach.

Also honoured on the night were seven Nelson sporting stalwarts who were given Rata Foundation Lifetime Contribution to Sport awards.
Tony Peacock and Steve Mitchell – Rugby, Ross Alvey – Cricket, Ian McKeage – Tennis, Jane Andrew – Netball, Mark Nalder – Table Tennis and Ruby Aberhart – Netball were all acknowledged for their contribution to their respective sports.