20 June 2011
Army physical training instructor Corporal Eugene Hepi won the Individual Sportsperson of the Year Award at the New Zealand Defence Force Sports Awards held in Wellington on 15 June.
Corporal Eugene Hepi - NZ Defence Force Individual Sportsperson of the Year 2010 (20110616-WN- S1015650-0046).
The Outstanding Sportsperson of the Year Award went to nationally ranked football referee Lieutenant Commander Mike Hester, RNZN.
The NZDF Sports Awards, which are the pinnacle of Defence sporting excellence, were held at the Amora Hotel in Wellington. The event was attended by 80 guests including the Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Rhys Jones, Vice Chief of Defence Force, Rear Admiral Jack Steer, Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Tony Parr, sponsors, sportsmen and women and invited guests.
LTGEN Jones presented a CDF commendation to sports administrator Dave Foley for his dedication and devotion to Defence sport in general.
Three NZDF Colour awards were presented to Warrant Officer Paul Davies (RNZAF), WO1 Warren Rowe and WO1 Daryl Burton, both from Army, for their commitment to their individual sports.
CPL Hepi, who is an accomplished sportsperson, was last month awarded the Chief of Army’s Supreme Sports Award. He was a driving force behind the NZ Army Open Men’s victory at the 2010 NZDF Touch tournament. and has demonstrated commitment at all levels of Touch, as a player and as a mentor. He has represented Touch at all levels - club, region, NZ Army, and played for Manawatu and New Zealand.
The NZDF Sports Official of the Year attracted three nominees - Chief Petty Officer John McKinney, Staff Sergeant Nicky Hansen and Wing Commander Kelvin Read. The award, presented by VCDF, went to WGCDR Kelvin Read, who has had an active involvement in RNZAF sport, particularly in Hockey and Harriers.
The Team of the Year Award went to the NZDF Rugby Team, which won the 2010 Pacific Military Cup, as well as a significant victory against the NZ Police.
In presenting the awards LTGEN Jones said it was an honour to present the NZDF Colour for services to sport to Warrant Officers Paul Davies, Warren Rowe, and Daryl Burton. "Not only have these people played at the highest level, but they have also made huge contributions to NZDF sport over an extended period of time.
"We all understand that sport is about performance at the high highest level, using drive, determination and discipline. We find these in every successful athlete as well as every successful organisation.
"But the reason we honour our personnel with the Colour is for their commitment, their team work and their willingness to give back to their sporting code and to the wider Defence Force. The aspect of teamwork essential in sport equates to military teamwork on operations and exercises. Each team or unit has players working together with the same aim - to win.
"Sport and defence have many common attributes. Sport develops a competitive edge. It instils mental and physical will and confidence to go out and play hard.I congratulate all those men and women here today who have been honoured with awards.
"However, as with all competition, there are always winners and losers. When we lose, we need leadership and positive reflection to progress. I believe that one of the key lessons in life is what you learn from failure...the great leaders of our time are those people who keep a cool head and learn from the experience.This applies to sport also."