Simon Plumb reports live as New Zealand's sporting royalty gather for the Halberg Awards.
London 2012 Olympians are expected to dominate the evening with an array of gold medallists across the categories, including Valerie Adams, Mahe Drysdale, Hamish Bond and Eric Murray.
10.38PM: Bond and Murray have won the supreme Halberg Award for 2012.
Completing a clean sweep for rowing tonight, the men’s pair fended off big challenges from Valerie Adams, Mahe Drysdale and Lydia Ko to land the big prize.
Bond and Murray qualified for the overall category by wining team of the year and have now been voted New Zealand’s best sportspeople of the year.
Rowing reigns supreme.
10.25PM: Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan's dramatic gold medal win at London 2012 has been voted New Zealand's sporting moment of the year.
The double scullers produced an awe-inspiring final push over the last 250m of their Olympic final to take a seemingly impossible gold.
That's four from four for rowing and still the supreme category to come.
10.08PM: Mahe Drysdale has been restored as sportsman of the year.
After finally nailing Olympic gold in London, the five-time world single sculls champion was the only Olympic gold-winner in the final and a predictable winner against All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and a pair of London 2012 bronze medallists in Andrew Nicholson (team eventing) and Simon van Velthooven (cycling).
Drysdale last won the award in 2009 and brings rowing’s tally for the night up to three from three.
9.52PM: That’s seven in a row. Valerie Adams is New Zealand’s sportswoman of the year.
In a fascinating final against fellow Olympic champion Lisa Carrington, silver medal BMX rider Sarah Walker and teenage golf sensation Lydia Ko, still no female is able to top one of the most dominant forces ever seen in Kiwi sport.
Adams has won the gong seven times on the spin now after a difficult year saw her win her second Olympic gold medal.
Adams will be a big player in the final, supreme award.
9.39PM: Dick Tonks has scooped coach of the year – rowing’s second win of the night so far.
Tonks was the man behind New Zealand rowing’s excellent performance at the London 2012 Games, claiming five of the nation’s 13 medals, and has previously landed the honour three times since 2004.
9.31PM: Athletics New Zealand patron and lifetime member Arthur Eustace has been given a lifetime achievement Halberg award.
Eustace, a former international sprinter, won a Commonwealth Games bronze medal in the 4x110 yards relay when Auckland hosted the Games in 1950 and represented Oceania on the international athletics council for 14 years.
9.20PM: Sports administrator Sir John Wells has received a Sport New Zealand leadership award.
Wells has held a number of privileged positions within New Zealand sport, including former chairman of former Crown sport entity SPARC (now Sport New Zealand).
The award was presented by current Sport New Zealand chief executive, Peter Miskimmin.
9.01PM: Paralympic swimmer Sophie Pascoe has gone back-to-back at the Halberg’s, retaining her crown of disabled sportsperson of the year.
Pascoe won the inaugural award last year and after claiming six medals at last year’s Paralympic Games - three gold, three silver – expectedly got the award again.
Other para-swimmer’s Mary Fisher, Cameron Leslie and para-cyclist Phillipa Gray were finalists.
8.55PM: Olympic champions Hamish Bond and Eric Murray have collected rowing’s first gong of the night, named New Zealand’s sporting team of the year.
In a tightly-contested final, which featured the All Blacks and two other gold medal crews from London 2012 – 470 sailing duo Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie and double scull rowers Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan –Bond and Murray got the nod.
In addition to being Olympic champions, Bond and Murray are also unbeaten in four years, claiming the last three world men’s pair titles.
8.46PM: Teenage golf sensation Lydia Ko has landed the first Halberg Award of the night, claiming the emerging talent award.
The 15-year-old, and world number one women’s amateur, claimed two professional tour wins last year in the Canadian and New South Wales Opens.
Ko, who is absent from the ceremony – competing in the Australian Open in Canberra, today shooting a career-best 10-under par 63 and taking the opening round lead – was given the nod ahead of Anton Cooper (mountain biking), Dylan Kennett (cycling) and Andrew McKenzie (yachting).
Ko is also a finalist for sportswoman of the year.
8.36PM: Lydia Ko features prominently in the Halberg introduction video. Could be a big night for her.
Incredibly, the Halberg judges didn't even class Ko as a finalist for the emerging talent award last year.
8.15PM: A little over 15 minutes to go until the formalities get underway at Vector Arena. The who's-who of New Zealand sport are just polishing off dessert...
- © Fairfax NZ News