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Eyes on refs, junior contributors

Today, CHRIS COGDALE profiles the finalists for Official of the Year and the new Junior Contribution to Sport in the Wairarapa Times-Age Sports Awards.


Alex Mason – Hockey, Cricket

Alex Mason has been a key contributor to Kuranui College sports over the past four years.

In cricket, Mason has umpired, scored and coached junior boys’ and girls’ teams, and has worked on the upgrading of nets and the main pitch. His enthusiasm for the game was instrumental in moving from one college team to four.

In hockey, Mason has umpired and coached junior boys and girls teams and supported the kitting out of the goalkeepers as the teams increased from two to four.

James Church – Cricket

James Church plays to a high standard and has achieved in cricket and swimming, and always volunteers to help.

Church is on the Wairarapa Secondary School Student Council, coaches Hadlow First XI cricket, coaches on the Wairarapa Cricket Development Programme, and assisted with coaching the junior rep programme.

Sally Booth – Netball, Cricket

Sally Booth dedicates a lot of time to officiating netball and cricket.

Booth has been part of the junior netball umpire academy for the past two years, and she umpires weekly games on Tuesdays and Saturdays. In addition to her Netball Wairarapa duties, Booth also umpires for St Matthew’s Collegiate. She has also taken on a junior netball team this season.

Booth coached the Hadlow girls’ cricket team this season and devoted time in her holidays and term-time to help officiate Cricket Wairarapa age-grade tournaments and events.

Toby Nelson – Hockey, Cricket

Toby Nelson is a significant contributor to Wairarapa College cricket and hockey.

He volunteers to prepare the cricket pitch, remove covers, and set up the ground for inter-school games.

Nelson also regularly umpires cricket and hockey matches.


Alistair Payne – Rugby

Alistair Payne is Wairarapa-Bush’s leading rugby referee. In 2022, Payne achieved the rare feat of officiating in his eighth consecutive premier grade final when he ran the Chris ‘Moose’ Kapene Memorial Cup final between Carterton and Marist.

As well, he is involved in the administration of the Wairarapa-Bush Referees Association and assists with training new referees.

Jules Carter and Marian McWilliams – Equestrian

Jules Carter and Marian McWilliams are a bit of a famous twin act from Wairarapa, having both become eventing stewards at the same time 12 years ago. The pair travel the country together in their roles as stewards.

As stewards, they ensure that competitors are safely competing within the rules. They have extensive knowledge and expertise of the rules of eventing, and their role generally involves educating riders, guiding them and sometimes being the enforcers of the rule. They are ESNZ Eventing and FEI [international body] Level 2 qualified stewards.

Mark Harris – Athletics

Mark Harris continues to be a leader in the track and field officiating circle.

Over the past year, he has been the chief photo finish judge for the national track and field championships, other major events and North Island secondary schools meets. He was also the assistant chief for the national secondary schools championships.

Harris works tirelessly during school athletics days, setting up and timing events and preparing data to show results.

Harris regularly officiates and times at local and regional events. He has also introduced the athletic.net system, developing it for results in the New Zealand system.

Peter Sigvertsen – Hockey

Peter Sigvertsen is Wairarapa’s top hockey umpire, having contributed countless hours over the past 15-plus years.

In 2022 Sigvertsen was selected by NZ Hockey to umpire at the national championships in Dunedin and was one of only 19 male umpires selected to attend the tournament.

Since this tournament, Sigvertsen has been promoted to the performance panel, the second-highest tier of umpires in New Zealand.

This is the group being groomed for the international umpires panel.

Sigvertsen continues to share his passion and dedication to umpiring with those in the development of officials in the Wairarapa hockey community, running training and development courses and mentoring up-and-coming local umpires from those just starting out to the senior umpires wanting to improve.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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