Barry Hunt at home with his Halberg Award. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Nelson’s Hunt awarded Halberg

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Having won almost every accolade there is in the athletics world, Barry Hunt has now joined the most illustrious group in New Zealand sport.

The Nelson man has dedicated 70 years of service to the sport he loves and has been acknowledged with a prestigious Halberg Lifetime Achievement Award.

Barry received a standing ovation last Thursday in Auckland as his extensive list of accolades were listed.

Starting initially as a gifted track athlete, he then progressed into a range of administration roles at club, centre, national and international levels.

He has coached world champions, witnessed sporting history and helped create dynasties.
Barry’s ageing legs don’t move as quick as when he set New Zealand sprinting records.

Instead, he says it felt like a 100m distance to the Spark Arena stage in front of more than 1000 people.

“My wife said I looked like all I was focussing on was not falling over.”

His prepared speech went unspoken after he was played off the stage following an interview.

“I think they were a bit pressed for time, I didn’t get to thank my wife Mavis for everything she has done.”

Barry says it was a fantastic night spent rubbing shoulders with a who’s who of New Zealand sport.

Having made a positive impact on so many athlete’s lives, one was sure to let him know.

New Zealand discus legend Beatrice Faumuina went overseas with Barry as a 14-year-old on her first international athletics trip.

She thanked the track legend for his influence on her early career.

“I have always believed in hard work and striving for excellence,” responded Barry.

Barry was even congratulated by supreme award winner Tom Walsh, who he hadn’t seen since he was a teenager.

“He has grown a bit.”

The Halberg marks a staggering fifth lifetime award for the athletics stalwart.

Barry says it was the culmination of 70 years of dedication.

“I have been an athlete, coach, selector, manager, timekeeper, been to world championships, Commonwealth Games and formed two clubs.”

The 87-year-old is from an era when amateur coaches gave their life for the love of the game, not the pay cheque.

“I was never paid for my coaching, but I had some wonderful experiences.”