2019 Māori Sports Awards finalists named

By James Perry

World Canoe Sprint champion Lisa Carrington has a chance of winning a 6th Māori Sportsperson of the year award, and an 8th Senior Sportswoman award.

2019 has been a busy year for sport in Aotearoa, however, the Māori Sports Awards judges have found their finalists of the standout Māori sportspeople.

This years list of finalists features a wide range of talent across 13 different sports and many who have performed sensationally well on the global scene.


Lisa Carrington has won 5 Māori Sportsperson of the Year awards, and is a finalist for a 6th. Photo/file

Carrington (Te Aitanga ā Māhaki) won her 7th consecutive K1 200m World Canoe Sprints title in Poland this year to cement her place as one of the sports greatest of all time. She has been named alongside Black Ferns Sevens captain Sarah Hirini (Ngāti Kahungunu), who became the first woman to play 200 matches on the World Rugby Sevens Series Circut this year, and led her side to claim their 5th World Series Crown this past season.


Honey Hireme in action during RLWC 2017. She missed a lot of this season to take care of her mother but helped win the World Nines this year. Photo/Getty Images

The third finalist for the Hineahuone trophy at the end of the month is Kiwi Ferns rugby league captain Honey Hireme (Ngāti Raukawa), who signed for the Warriors NRLW team this season but unfortunately withdrew to take care of her terminally ill mother. Honey Hireme returned to the field shortly after her mothers passing to help the Kiwi Ferns Nines team upset the Jillaroos to claim the World Nines Title in Sydney last month. 

Meanwhile,  Lewis Clareburt could become the first person since Rieko Ioane in 2017 to win the Senior Men's Award, Tama-ā-Tanenuiārangi the year after claiming the junior award. The Tainui swimmer set an NZ record on his way to winning bronze in the 400m medley at the World Swim Championships. He was also the only Kiwi to make a final and win a medal. 

He will be up against All Black halfback Aaron Smith (Ngāti Kahungunu), who was a stand out in the All Blacks unsuccessful tilt at a third Rugby World Cup title in Japan, and Benji Marshall (Tūhoe) who made an emotional return to the Kiwis Rugby League side after an eight-year absence in the Kiwis 34-14 demolition of Tonga at Mt. Smart. The 34-year-old Marshall finished the season as Kiwis captain following an injury to Dallin Wātene-Zelezniak.


Benji Marshall (r) fought back tears as he returned to the Kiwis after 8 years in the wilderness. Photo/SkySport

The Junior categories will also be hotly contested, with World Mountain Bike gold medalist Tuhoto-Ariki Pene (Te Arawa) (Junior Men's) and BMX Junior World Champion Jessie Smith (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Te Wairoa) (junior Women's) in the mix.

Woolhandling Team Sheree Alabaster (Ngāpuhi) and Pagan Karauria (Ngāti Kahungunu), who won the World Woolhandling Championships in France go up against the J19 Aotearoa Waka Ama team that won the World Va'a Long Distance title in Australia in the Sports Team of the year award.

The 29th Māori Sports Awards will take place in Manukau on November 30 and will be live-streamed on the Māori Television facebook page from 5pm.

Māori Television will have a delayed broadcast of the awards the following day from 7.00pm.

The list of finalists are
MĀORI SPORTS HALL OF FAME – Te Whare Matapuna o Te Ao Māori

  • KEVIN Ronald TAMATI BMM (Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāti Kahungunu) RUGBY LEAGUE
  • HOWIE Kevin TAMATI MBE (Te Atiawa, Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāi Tahu) RUGBY LEAGUE
  • Dr FARAH Rangikoepa PALMER ONZM, BPhEd, PhD (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Mahuta) RUGBY
  • Judge JOHN Enoka MACDONALD (Rangitāne, Ngāti Raukawa) BASKETBALL
  • LOUISA Hareruia WALL (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Waikato) RUGBY, NETBALL
  • RUBEN James WIKI ONZM (Te Aupōuri, Ngāti Hāmoa) RUGBY LEAGUE

INDIVIDUAL MĀORI WORLD CHAMPIONS

  • Janae WHAKARAU (Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Raukawa) TAEKWON DO
  • Jessie SMITH (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāpuhi, Ngāi Tāmanuhiri) BMX
  • Darren HEREWINI (Ngāti Porou) DARTS
  • Lisa CARRINGTON (Te Aitanga ā Māhaki, Ngāti Porou) CANOE RACING
  • Erica FAIRWEATHER (Ngāi Tahu) SWIMMING

MĀORI IN WORLD CHAMPION TEAMS

  • Sheree ALABASTER (Ngāpuhi) & Pagan KARAURIA (Ngāti Kahungunu) WOOLHANDLING
  • WAKA AMA – J19 Aotearoa Women’s team – WORLD CHAMPIONS
    • Gaibreill Wainohu (Te Aitanga ā Māhaki, Ngāti Kahungunu)
    • Rangi-Riana Williams (Ngāti Porou)
    • Makayla Timoti (Ngāi Tūhoe, Te Arawa, Ngāti Whakaue)
    • Kyra Mita (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Tahu)
    • Kelsey Teneti (Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau a Apanui)
    • Ariata Kutia (Ngāi Tūhoe)

SENIOR SPORTSMAN – Te Tama-ā-Tanenuiārangi

  • Lewis CLAREBURT (Waikato, Tainui) SWIMMING
  • Aaron SMITH (Ngati Kahungunu) RUGBY
  • Benji MARSHALL (Ngai Tūhoe) RUGBY LEAGUE

SENIOR SPORTSWOMEN - Hineahuone

  • Lisa CARRINGTON (Te Aitanga ā Māhaki, Ngāti Porou) CANOE RACING
  • Sarah HIRINI (Ngāti Kahungunu) SEVENS RUGBY
  • Honey HIREME (Ngāti Raukawa) RUGBY LEAGUE/RUGBY SEVENS

JUNIOR SPORTSMAN – Te Tama-ā-Ranginui

  • Tuhoto-Ariki PENE (Te Arawa) MOUNTAIN BIKING
  • Max MATA (Ngāpuhi, Tainui) FOOTBALL
  • Dallas TEEPA (Ngāi Tuhoe) TOUCH FOOTBALL

JUNIOR SPORTSWOMEN – Te Tamāhine-a-Papatūānuku

  • Erica FAIRWEATHER (Ngāi Tahu) SWIMMING
  • Janae WHAKARAU (Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Raukawa) TAEKWON DO
  • Jessie SMITH (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāpuhi, Ngāi Tāmanuhiri) BMX

COACH – Te Maru ō Tūmatauenga

  • Noeline TAURUA (Ngāpuhi) NETBALL
  • Jamie JOSEPH (Rangtāne o Wairau, Ngāti Rāurua, Ngāti Maniapoto) RUGBY
  • Rusty MATUA (Te Arawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa) RUGBY LEAGUE

MĀORI SPORTS TEAM – Ngā Ika a Whiro

  • NZ WOOLHANDLING TEAM
  • WAKA AMA - J19 Aotearoa Women's team

DISABLED – Te Toi Huarewa

  • Cameron LESLIE (Ngāpuhi) PARA SWIMMING, WHEELBLACKS

ADMINISTRATOR – Māui Tikitiki-a-Taranga

  • Raelene CASTLE (Ngāpuhi) RUGBY
  • Tiki EDWARDS (Te Whakatōhea, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa) MĀORI RUGBY
  • Hone FOWLER (Ngāti Porou, Ngāpuhi) FOOTBALL

UMPIRE/REFEREE – Te Aratiatia

  • Ben O’KEEFE (Ngāpuhi) RUGBY