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Southlander humbled to receive national award

LOGAN SAVORY
Last updated 05:00 11/12/2013

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Teaukura Moetaua's dedication to the sport of rugby league has been honoured, with the Southlander a popular winner at the New Zealand Rugby League awards ceremony in Auckland on Monday night.

Moetaua was awarded the male volunteer of the year after a massive contribution in 2013 trying to help his sport prosper.

He is the president and manager of the Wakatipu Giants Rugby League Club, he managed the Southland under-15, Southern Scorpions under-15 and New Zealand Residents under-18 teams.

On top of this he has also joined the NZRL Southern Zone board.

The Queenstown-based Moetaua has played an active role in helping Southland District Rugby League over the years, including at one stage taking on the president's role.

Moetaua said he was humbled to be handed the award at a national level and said there were others, in particular in Southland, that would have been been just as worthy of getting the award.

He said the fact a Southland rugby league official won the volunteer award was well received with those in attendance on Monday night, including Sir Peter Leitch, aka the Mad Butcher, who presented him with the award.

"He presented the award to me and when he found out I was from Southland he was pretty stoked. He came up to me after the awards and told me he was happy that someone from Southland had won it. I had a few people come up to me and said ‘once we heard you were from Southland we were really rapt.' People seem to love people from Southland. "

Included in the well wishes after receiving the award was Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney.

He said many people were interested to know how league feared in a rugby dominated province like Southland.

"I said we have people that love the game just as much as people in Auckland, we just have less of them."

NZRL Southern Zone general manager Steve Martin was delighted for Moetaua and for Southland rugby league that he had received the award.

"I'm thrilled for him. He's gone right through from grassroots level to the elite level as far as his contribution goes," Martin said.

"I talked to him about it and he said he was not excepting the award just for him and his family but on behalf of those thousands of volunteers that over the last three years of the rebirth of the game have given up their time. People like Cheryl (Officer) in Southland are examples of that."

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- The Southland Times

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