New rural sports award in honour of All Black legend

New Zealand sportspeople from a rural background will now be recognised with a new annual award.

The Norwood New Zealand Rural Sports Awards celebrate rural sportspeople in a variety of categories.

A new category has been introduced to the awards for 2019 , which also pays tribute to one of our best loved All Blacks, Sir Brian Lochore.

The "Allflex Sir Brian Lochore Outstanding Sportsperson from a Rural Background" will honour an athlete from any sports code who comes from a rural background. 

It aims to put a spotlight on the contributions of rural people to the wider New Zealand sporting community.

"Many of New Zealand's greatest athletes have come from rural backgrounds," said Sir Brian, who is patron of the award.

"The challenges for rural athletes can be great, including lack of facilities, lack of coaching, and immense distances travelled to train and compete," he said.

Sir Brian said he is delighted to be associated with an award that recognises the extra challenges these athletes have had to meet and overcome to achieve success in their fields and the contribution they have made to New Zealand.

Allflex Asia-Pacific and China Chief Executive, Shane McManaway said the new award is a great fit for the company.

"Allflex is all about excellence, commitment and performance in the rural sector, so sponsoring an award acknowledging the excellence, commitment and performance of athletes from rural backgrounds made perfect sense to us," he said.

Chief Executive Officer at Norwood, Tim Myers said Sir Brian is a living Kiwi legend who has been a great friend to rural sports for generations, so it is right to honour him.

He is expecting a high standard of entries for the 2019 awards.

"We had a fantastic array of nominees and the winners of the 2018 Norwood NZ Rural Sports Awards," he said.

"They are outstanding Kiwi shearers, tree climbers, fencers, riders, wood choppers and administrators, and I am sure 2019 will be no different," said Mr Myers.

Nominations are now open for:

The Norwood New Zealand Rural Sportsman of the Year

The Skellerup New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year

The Fonterra Young New Zealand Rural Sportsperson of the Year

The Levno Contribution to the New Zealand Rural Sports Industry.

The Toyota Lifetime Legacy Award

 The Allflex Sir Brian Lochore Outstanding Sportsperson from a Rural Background

The 2018 winners were multiple international tree-climbing championship winner Chrissy Spence, New Zealand and World Champion shearer John Kirkpatrick, young international rodeo rider Tegan O’Callaghan, shearing sports administrator Jude McNabb and multi-award-winning fencer Paul van Beers.

Nominations close at the end of January 2019 and finalists will be announced in February 2019.