Linton Sapper wins NZDF's top sports award

March 2009. NZDF Individual sportsperson of the year - Sapper Paul Davis. AK 09 0171 029
NZDF Individual sportsperson of the year, Sapper Paul Davis. (AK09-0171-029)

2 April 2009

Linton Military Camp Sapper Paul Davis was named the top individual sportsperson of the year at the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) sports awards last week.

The former Hato Paora College student said it was a “pretty awesome feeling” winning the top individual sportsperson award and that the Army was a great place to work when keen on playing sport.

Sapper Davis, originally from Morewa in Northland, is an accomplished sportsperson. He represented Army rugby and Touch and was in the NZDF Senior Men’s Rugby Team that won the Pacific Nations Military Rugby Tournament in 2008. Paul’s performance at provincial level Touch for Manawatu saw him selected to the NZ U21 Men’s Touch Team in 2008.

“The Army is really flexible when it comes to supporting my sporting goals,” SPR Davis says.

It has obviously paid dividends as Sapper Davis has been selected for the NZ men’s open touch team (the touchblacks) which will compete in the Trans-Tasman competition in Australia in April.

“The importance of sport in the Defence Force cannot be stressed enough. It develops competitiveness, the desire to win, and instils the mental and physical toughness so important in our core business: the conduct of military operations,” Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae said on the awards night.

“Competing in sport gives individuals the opportunity to test their skill, agility and physical strength against opponents, and to meet the various unforeseen circumstances that occur during a game.”

The awards, which recognise sporting excellence in the NZDF, was attended by 120 guests including the Minister of Defence Dr Wayne Mapp, Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae, Service Chiefs, sponsors, sportsmen and women and invited guests.

Sapper Davis is currently undertaking his carpentry apprenticeship with the school of military engineering in Palmerston North.


For more information please contact Bas Bolyn, Media Adviser (Army) on 04 496 0285 or 021 478 574

Sport in the New Zealand Defence Force is a critical element of the Defence Force’s training and culture and is a practical way of developing our core values of courage, commitment, comradeship and integrity.

The Defence Force Sports Awards are held annually to acknowledge sporting excellence and achievement among Defence personnel. The Awards recognises individual and official achievements as well as team participation in eleven codes and nominees must have been selected in one of these codes. 

The ultimate category is the Outstanding Sportsperson which acknowledges any sport regardless of whether it is representing the Defence Force or otherwise. The final award (which is not necessarily awarded annually) is the Defence Force Colour which acknowledges ‘Excellence in Sport’.

To be awarded this honour, the recipient must have reached at least provincial or Defence Force level of representation in the sport and have coached, administered, or made some other significant contribution in the development and fostering of Defence Force Sport.

The awards were introduced in 2001 after the re-introduction of sport in the Defence Force following the closure of the Combined Services in the mid 1990’s.

Sapper Paul Davis
Sapper Davis has shown throughout 2008 just what an accomplished sportsperson he is. Paul represented Army Rugby to win the coveted King George Cup at Inter-Services and the NZDF Senior Men’s Rugby Team who won the Pacific Nations Military Rugby Tournament with an emphatic 74 - 3 win over the NZDF Academy side. Paul also made other notable achievements during 2008. He was a Manawatu U20’s and Senior Rugby Development Representative. He was selected as a Manawatu Touch Representative and through his performance at the Provincial level saw his selection to the NZ U21 Men’s Touch Team. In 2009, Sapper Davis will be part of the NZ mens open touch team, the touchblacks, to take on Australia in a Trans-Tasman series.

This page was last reviewed on 5 November 2010.