The finalists for the 2021 New Zealand Rural Sports Awards have been announced today ahead of the sold-out awards ceremony on 12 March.

The finalists have been selected from five award categories, and are leaders in rural sports including shearing, fencing, wood chopping, harness racing, and tree climbing.

New Zealand Rural Sports Awards Judging Panel Convenor and Olympic Rowing Medallist Nathan Twaddle says out of the five categories, the Toyota Legacy Lifetime Award received a record number of nominations.

“The Legacy Lifetime Award always attracts a significant number of entries and this year we have received both a record number and a very high calibre of nominations. As a result we have put forward five finalists for consideration.”

The judging panel has also unanimously agreed to make one other significant change to the Legacy Lifetime Award. “We are pleased to announce the limit of a sole recipient for this award has been removed. The judging panel considers it is important to celebrate dedication and lasting impact over a lifetime, without the restriction of recognising just one individual each year.”

Twaddle says that after an incredibly tough year for so much of New Zealand, they are looking forward to the opportunity to celebrate the achievements at the Awards dinner on March 12.

“The New Zealand Rural Sports Awards are all about honouring people from young athletes who are just starting, to the lifetime achievers, and those who work away in the background to make sure rural sports survive – we can’t thank them enough and look forward to sharing a wonderful evening with them as we celebrate their sporting achievements.”

Sir John Kirwan, Olympian Tom Walsh and Farm4Life’s Tangaroa Walker are the first three confirmed award presenters on what is expected to be a star-studded evening.

Twaddle says for the first time we will announce the Supreme New Zealand Rural Sports Award to the most outstanding winner of a category.

The judging panel for the Awards includes Nathan Twaddle, rural sports icon and president of Shearing Sports New Zealand Sir David Fagan, Fencing legend Paul van Beers, MP for Taranaki-King Country Barbara Kuriger, founder and trustee of the Ford Ranger New Zealand Rural Games Steve Hollander, and respected agricultural journalists Craig ‘Wiggy’ Wiggins and Tony Leggett.

The Awards Dinner will be held on Friday, March 12 at Awapuni Function Centre, the night before the Ford Ranger New Zealand Rural Games in Palmerston North.

The finalists are:

PTS Logistics New Zealand Rural Sportsman of the Year

Tony Bouskill


Scott Forrest

Tree Climbing

Rowland Smith


New Zealand Rural Sportswoman of the Year

Darcell Apelu

Wood Chopping

Steph Dryfhout

Tree Climbing

Keryn Herbert


Fonterra Young New Zealand Rural Sportsperson of the Year

John Morrison

Harness Racing

Adam Gordon


Stephanie McNair

Target Shooting

Outstanding Contribution to Rural Sport

Murray & Deneece Goldsworthy

Harness Racing

Warren White


Stephen Mowbray


Toyota Lifetime Legacy

Greg Herrick


Sheree Taylor

Wood Chopping

Sally Mallinson

Sheep Dog Trials

Curly Troon

Gumboot Throwing

Nick Liefting


Profiles of our finalists can be found here


Finalists announced for prestigious Rural Sports Awards

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