Who would you select for a Wairarapa Sports Hall of Fame?
That’s something I’ve been pondering for many of my 30-plus years in media.
I finally got around to putting pen to paper two and a bit years ago at the height of the first covid-19 lockdown, which led to a phone call from Jason Osborne, chairman of the Wairarapa Sports Education Trust [WSET].
They had also been discussing the possibility of creating a Hall of Fame to recognise our rich sporting past and those individuals and teams who have significantly contributed to it.
After several meetings and a lot of research, the outcome is that the Wairarapa Sports Hall of Fame – Te Waka Hau Tangata o Wairarapa – will be launched at a gala event at the Carterton Events Centre on Saturday, November 5.
The aim of the Hall of Fame is to celebrate, share, and preserve in history the achievements of the region’s sporting greats – the athletes, teams, coaches, officials, administrators, and media who have made an outstanding contribution to the sporting heritage of Wairarapa, as well as make the future generations aware of the sporting shoulders they stand on.
So where do you start?
My initial list started at 20 and soon increased to over 30, and the elite academy of judges, all with extensive sports knowledge, including a noted international commentator, were tasked with coming up with
12 inaugural inductees.
The judges had strict guidelines to work within, such as individuals must be retired at least five years from elite competition, although exceptions could be made for world champions and Olympic and Commonwealth Games medallists.
The teams need to be a Wairarapa-based representative or club side that achieved a high level of excellence, won a provincial or national event, or achieved a high placing at the international level, and be at least five years since their achievement.
Coaches, officials, administrators, and media must have made a significant contribution to sport in Wairarapa or brought recognition to sport through achievement at national or international level.
So where would you start, bearing in mind the criteria restricts the inclusion of our most recent achievers?
To give you a clue, there are nine individuals, and three teams, with achievements ranging from this century right back to the 1920s.
There are obviously some givens such as one of New Zealand’s greatest golfers, and one of New Zealand sports absolute icons, but who else would make your cut?
From world champions, to Olympians, and decorated internationals, to major championship winners, and sporting pioneers, to those achievements that captivated the Wairarapa public, there are many factors to ponder.
How does your list compare to that of the academy of judges?
Find out in person, and come along to the launch of the Wairarapa Sports Hall of Fame, and meet with some of Wairarapa’s sporting greats.
There are some outstanding achievements and the odd surprise.
Tickets for the launch are only $95 and include a three-course meal, and are available on the Carterton Events Centre website.https://www.cartertonec.co.nz/wairarapa-sports-hall-of-fame-te-waka-hau-tangata-o-wairarapa/