Topic: Rugby

Māori athletes honoured at Steinlager NZ Rugby Awards

Four Māori took honours at the Steinlager NZ Rugby Awards held in Auckland last night.

Liam Messam has had an extraordinary year, winning back-to-back titles with the Chiefs and playing flanker for an unbeaten All Blacks side, so it was no surprise he won the Tom French Memorial Māori Player of the Year award.                                             

Just as impressive as Liam's year was Ngāpuhi's Portia Woodman's 2013.

Portia helped her sevens sisters claim the inaugural world series title and the World Cup in Moscow.  She scored 12 tries and that's why she was named NZ women's sevens player of the year.

To the men's sevens player of the year, it was a tough decision for the judges between Kurt Baker, Gilles Kaka and Tim Mikkleson.

Like the women, the NZ men's team won the World Cup and the world series, but Ngāpuhi's Kurt Baker rose to the top and grabbed the award. 

One new award was the fans' pick of the top try of the year, and while the competition was fierce, Black Fern Selica Winiata's match-winning try at the death of their third test against England in Hamilton got the fans' vote.

The All Blacks won team of the year, while All Blacks coach Steve Hansen was named coach of the year for the second year in a row, and All Black No.8 Kieran Reid grabbed the top prize of the night as NZ's player of the year.