Top swimmer wins sportsperson of the year at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington Blues awards

Bachelor of Commerce student Lewis Clareburt has won Sportsperson and Sportsman of the Year at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington.

group of people for blues awards smiling up
As well as representing Aotearoa New Zealand in Birmingham, the Wellington swimmer achieved eight wins and one second place at the 2022 New Zealand Swimming Championships, across medley, freestyle, and butterfly events. He also went to the FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, getting fourth in the world for the 400m individual medley.

The Blues Awards were first awarded in 1902 and are presented each year in partnership with the Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA). They are the highest sporting accolade the University can give students. This year, thirty-one students received Blues awards, from over a dozen sports. This year also saw the addition of a new premier award, for sporting and academic excellence.

“These awards recognise the rich contribution that tertiary sport makes to tertiary life,” says Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Jennifer Windsor. “We are proud to recognise every one of these student athletes, and the clubs and administrators that made their success possible.”

Female sportsperson of the year is Georgia Plimmer, a batter for the Wellington Blaze women’s cricket team who was called up for the White Ferns at the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup. The 18-year-old also represented Aotearoa in T20 in Birmingham. She is studying towards a Bachelor of Science majoring in Geography.

Pasifika Sportsperson of the Year is swimmer Kokoro Frost, who represented Sāmoa in Birmingham this year. He is studying towards a Bachelor of Communication, majoring in Intercultural Communication and minoring in Mata’upu tau Samoa (Samoan Studies).

Māori Sportsperson of the Year goes to rugby player Caleb Delaney (Ngāti Tūwharetoa), who made his debut for the Māori All Blacks in 2022, and plays for the Hurricanes in Super Rugby, and current Ranfurly Shield holders, the Wellington Lions, in the national competition. Caleb received the Old Boys’ University Jack Jeffs Rugby Scholarship in 2021, which helped him follow his two passions—rugby and his studies in architecture.

The inaugural Premier Sporting and Academic Excellence Award goes to Sammie Maxwell. Along with her achievements on the mountain bike—having placed first in the elite and U23 women’s category at the New Zealand cross-country national championships in Christchurch—Sammie has maintained a perfect academic record in her Bachelor of Biomedical Science degree. She has never received a grade other than an A+ for any of her papers across her three years of study.

This year’s Club of the Year is the Victoria University of Wellington Debating Society, who had a stunning year of success in competitions worldwide. They are particularly proud of their success at the Australasian Women and Gender Minorities Debating Championships, with two teams breaking into the semi-finals—more than any other New Zealand university. They also broke into the knock-out stage at the Belgrade Worlds in July, and their speakers were named in the top 16 percent globally, out of almost 750 debaters from around the world. They also did well in national competitions.

The Old Boy’s University rugby club administrator Richard Boag has been named Sports Administrator of the Year. Over the past three years, as well as being the OBU administrator, he has also conducted a historical exercise for the Wellington Rugby Football Union, researching their players since 1880. He is currently a PhD student at the Wellington School of Business and Government, studying issues in sports management and governance.

Congratulations to all our 2022 Blues and Premier award winners. While COVID-19 has impacted their study and sport this year, these students have continued to excel in both their academic and sporting endeavours.

The 2022 Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington Premier Blues Awards:

  • Sportsperson of the year – Lewis Clareburt (Swimming)
  • Sportswoman of the year – Georgia Plimmer (Cricket)
  • Sportsman of the year – Lewis Clareburt (Swimming)
  • Māori sportsperson of the year – Caleb Delaney (Rugby)
  • Pasifika sportsperson of the year – Kokoro Frost (Swimming)
  • Sporting and Academic Excellence Award – Sammie Maxwell (Cross-country Mountain Biking)
  • Club of the Year – Victoria University of Wellington Debating Society
  • Sports Administrator of the Year – Richard Boag (Rugby)

Blues Award winners:                  

  • Josh Amyes – Swimming
  • Ruby Baker – Hockey
  • Sean Beresford – Futsal
  • Samuel Brown – Swimming
  • Lewis Clareburt – Swimming
  • Caleb Delany – Rugby
  • Tiaki Fabish – Rugby
  • Andrew Fitzpatrick-Cockram – Ultimate Frisbee
  • Kokoro Frost – Swimming
  • Josh Gimblett – Rugby
  • Josh Goble – Surf-Lifesaving
  • Mia Harries – Netball
  • Casper Howell – Fencing
  • Paul Ireland – Beach Handball
  • Xara Jetly – Cricket
  • Dory Kemp – Canoe Racing
  • Estelle Macadré – Hockey
  • Stacey Mather – Ultimate Frisbee
  • Sammie Maxwell – Cross-country Mountain Biking
  • Tiana Metuarau – Netball
  • Samuel Penno – Debating
  • Georgia Plimmer – Cricket
  • Holly Reid – Netball
  • Keir Robinson – Debating
  • Bridget Scott – Debating
  • Ellie Stevenson – Debating
  • Savannah Sullivan – Netball
  • Te Aomania Te Koha – Netball
  • Kayli Tuiraviravi – Hockey
  • Mackenzie Tuffin – Rowing and Netball
  • Luciana Wilton – Touch Rugby

Blues awards for Sports Clubs:  

  • Victoria University of Wellington Debating Club
  • Victoria University of Wellington Rowing Club
  • Victoria University of Wellington Netball Club