Top students recognised for sporting and creative excellence

30 September 2019

Blues Awards 2019
(L-R) Major winners Cecily Shaw, Roiana Pihama, Bryony Botha and Matthew Dunham with Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley

A rower, cyclist, singer and kapa haka performer were recognised for top excellence at this year’s Wallace Corporation University of Waikato Blues Awards.

More than 40 students who excel in sport, or the creative and performing arts, received the prestigious Blue Award last Friday.

The pinnacle of the event saw four students receiving top awards for their respective disciplines.

Rower Matthew Dunham received the Sportsman of the Year award, cyclist Bryony Botha received the Sportswoman of the Year award, vocalist Cecily Shaw received the Creative and Performing Arts Person of the Year award, and national kapa haka champion Roiana Pihama received the Pou Ahurea (Māori Person of the Year) award.

University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley says receiving a Blue Award is one of the highest honours a student at Waikato can receive.

“The Blues Awards are a highlight on the University calendar and an opportunity to celebrate our students’ greatest sporting and artistic achievements,” he says.

“The Blues Awards pay tribute to some of New Zealand’s greatest talents, along with their supporters and coaches. Netballer Laura Langman and Black Ferns player Stacey Waaka were both Blues winners, as were cellist Edward King and 2018 Lexus Song Quest finalist Filipe Manu.”

As well as the four top awards, four additional awards were presented for emerging talent, enhancing performance, and top University sports team.

The Blues Awards ceremony is one of the University’s strongest traditions dating back to 1971, and celebrate the commitment and achievements of students and acknowledge their contribution to the University of Waikato.

This year’s top winners:

Bryony Botha – Sportswoman of the Year
Bryony competed at the UCI Track Cycling World Cup where she won gold in the team pursuit and broke the New Zealand record. Bryony also competed at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Poland early March where she landed a bronze medal in the team pursuit and placed fifth in the individual pursuit.

Matthew Dunham – Sportsman of the Year
Matt became an elite rower in 2016 and, since then, has been undefeated in New Zealand. In 2018 he placed fourth in the men’s lightweight double sculls at the Rowing World Championships in Bulgaria, and fourth in the lightweight double sculls in the World Rowing Cup II in Austria.

Roiana Pihama – Pou Ahurea (Māori Person of the Year)
Roiana was a member of regional and national secondary kapa haka team Ngā Taiātea Wharekura. She is currently a member of the kapa haka team Ngā Tūmanako, who won the Tāmaki Makaurau Kapa Haka Regional Competition last year. This qualified Ngā Tūmanako for this year’s Te Matatini Kapa Haka Competition –the pinnacle event for Māori performing arts worldwide. Roiana’s team performed a successful bracket, and as a result, their team won the competition.

Cecily Shaw – Creative and Performing Arts Person of the Year
Cecily Shaw has recently completed a Master of Music under the tutelage of Glenese Blake, and supervision of Stephanie Acraman and Dr. Rachael Griffiths Hughes. She has been an alto soloist with several New Zealand choirs, and has attended Chamber Music New Zealand’s Bach Cantata Residency, with Juliard 415 and Masaaki Suzuki. She is a current member of the Freemasons New Zealand Opera Chorus, and attended the 2019 New Zealand Opera School.

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