14 February 2024

Renowned kayaker and World Champion, Dame Lisa Carrington, has secured New Zealand’s highest sporting honour for 2023, emerging as the recipient of the prestigious Supreme Halberg Award at the 61st ISPS Handa Halberg Awards ceremony. The announcement, made at Spark Arena in Auckland this evening, marked a crowning moment in Carrington’s incredible career.

Carrington, who was named High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year earlier in the evening,claimed her 15th Canoe Sprint World Championship title in Germany, with victory in the K1 200m on the final day of competition. The win provided her third title of the regatta, after the K4 500m and the K1 500m, just 24 hours earlier.

In a highly competitive field, Carrington took the honour ahead of fellow finalists, including last year’s Supreme Halberg Award recipient Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, cyclist Ellesse Andrews, motocross rider Courtney Duncan, and swimmer Erika Fairweather.

There were seven other Awards presented during the live ceremony, celebrating and honouring New Zealand sporting excellence from 2023.  

Aaron Gate was announced as the ISPS Handa Sportsman of the Year for his results at the UCI Track World Championships, including victory in the Men’s Points race and two bronze medals in the Men’s Madison and Men’s Team Pursuit. Fellow finalists included, All Black Ardie Savea, squash player Paul Coll, golfer Ryan Fox and race car driving legend Shane van Gisbergen.

Double New Zealand representative Cameron Leslie was named ISPS Handa Para Athlete of the Year for his performances at the World Para Swimming World Championships where he claimed one gold, two silvers and a bronze. Leslie also co-captained the Wheel Blacks at the International Wheelchair Rugby World Cup in Paris, France in the same year. Lisa Adams, Danielle Aitchison, Anna Taylor and Nicole Murray were also finalists.

The Black Fern Sevens team was named ISPS Handa Team of the Year for their unprecedented success in the HSBC Sevens World Series, maintaining an undefeated streak of 36 matches. Other finalists included the All Blacks, All Blacks Sevens, Women’s K4 Kayak 500m and the One New Zealand Warriors.

Gordan Walker claimed the Buddle Findlay Coach of the Year Awards for the fifth time, for guiding the New Zealand Women’s sprint kayak contingent to three world titles and was named ahead of Ian Foster, Sean Thompson, Corey Sweeny and Lars Humer.

Speed Climber Julian David was awarded the Sky Sport Emerging Talent accolade. David won the junior male speed climbing gold medal at the IFSC World Championships in South Korea to edge out other finalists in this category, kayaker Tara Vaughan, snowboarder Lucia Georgalli, footballer Milly Clegg and downhill mountain biker Erice Van Leuven.

New Zealand’s public voted over 10,000 times for their Favourite Sporting Moment in the month leading up the Awards, and named the One New Zealand Warriors remarkable 32-30 victory of the Sharks after trailing 20 – 0 just 18 minutes into the game as their favourite. Between Two Beers Podcast Hosts, Steven Holloway and Seamus Marten presented the Award.

Sir Wayne Smith, was awarded Sport New Zealand’s Leadership Award.

More than just a celebration, the Awards serve as the main fundraiser for Halberg – to support the work of its Founder – Sir Murray Halberg and his legacy of ensuring all young people with physical disabilities can find moments of joy in sport and recreation activities.

Full list of winners and finalists for the 61st ISPS Handa Halberg Awards:

Supreme Halberg Award winner: Dame Lisa Carrington

High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year winner: Dame Lisa Carrington (canoe racing).

Finalists: Courtney Duncan (motocross), Ellesse Andrews (cycling-track), Erika Fairweather (swimming), Zoi Sadowski-Synnott (snow sports)

ISPS Handa Sportsman of the Year winner: Aaron Gate (cycling-track)

Finalists: Ardie Savea (rugby-union), Paul Coll (squash), Ryan Fox (golf), Shane van Gisbergen (motorsport)

ISPS Handa Para Athlete/Para Team of the Year winner: Cameron Leslie (Para swimming and wheelchair rugby)

Finalists: Anna Taylor (Para cycling), Danielle Aitchison (Para athletics), Lisa Adams (Para athletics), Nicole Murray (Para cycling)

ISPS Handa Team of the Year winner: Black Ferns Sevens (rugby-sevens)

Finalists: All Blacks (rugby-union), All Black Sevens (rugby-sevens), New Zealand Warriors (rugby-league), Women’s K4 500m (canoe racing)

Buddle Findlay Coach of the Year winner: Gordon Walker (canoe racing)

Finalists: Cory Sweeney (rugby-sevens), Ian Foster (rugby-union), Lars Humer (swimming), Sean Thompson (snow sports)

Sky Sport Emerging Talent winner: Julian David (climbing)

Finalists: Erice Van Leuven (cycling-mountain bike), Lucia Georgalli (snow sports), Milly Clegg (football), Tara Vaughan (canoe racing)

Sport New Zealand’s Leadership Award: Sir Wayne Smith 

New Zealand’s Favourite Sporting Moment: One New Zealand Warriors