Last-ditch bid for sports awards

JARED SMITH
Last updated 05:00 28/09/2012

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A group of Taranaki's best Maori athletes' chances to press for awards recognition will be decided this afternoon.

The Te Tohu Takaro o Taranaki Maori sports awards put out a request for help after previous sponsors pulled their support for the November 3 event.

The organising committee will meet today to see if the ceremony - which was three specific naming sponsors short - will be able to go ahead.

"We're still in the balance, we're not sure," said member Leanne Matuku.

"There is still hope - but again we've got to be realistic and punch our numbers.

"Nominations have been received and there has been some queries around providing sponsorship.

"We're just going to have a look at it all, see how it lined up and make a final yea or nay."

After a slow trickle of nominations, Tania Murray of Tihi Ltd, Event & Conference Managers, said they had a strong pick up during seven days.

"Last week we only had 10, I know it's close to another 10.

"We're still chasing some money."

Sporting luminaries like former All Black Jarrad Hoeata and Sport Taranaki chief executive Howie Tamati say the night must go on.

A peek at the nominees list shows some heavy-duty talent that could miss out on their dues should the event for 2012 be cancelled.

Contesting the senior sportsman award is surfer Bachelor Tipene and touch rugby exponent Roger Ratahi.

Tipene is a two-time Taranaki open men's champion, runner-up in the Senior National Champs and twice Maori Team representative at the Oceanic Cup.

Ratahi was selected this year for the NZ over-30s team, the latest accolade in a career in which he has represented New Zealand at under-20s and senior level, as well as in London for the Galaxy team.

In the senior sportswoman category, surfer Thandi Tipene is another nomination following her national championship win in the waves of Piha back in January.

The junior sportswoman category hosts the likes of Equestrian Mounted Games national junior pairs champion Lauren Terrill, 17, along with national medal winner and North Island athletics champion Zoe Hobbs, 14.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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