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NZDF Sportsperson of the Year

National and international success in canoe marathon racing while managing the demands of her job has resulted in Leading Aircraftman Sarah Lockwood winning this year’s Sportsperson of the Year award.

17 November, 2023

Leading Aircraftman Sarah Lockwood

Described as a “passionate, dedicated and professional athlete”, in her citation, LAC Lockwood had two wins in the Open Women's Marathon events for K1 and K2 at the national level and placed 13th in the marathon event at the World Championships in Denmark this year.

To attain and maintain these achievements the Force Health Protection technician dedicates energy “above and beyond the expectations of someone so junior in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, which is testament to her dedication and drive”, the citation said.

“LAC Lockwood is a member of the RNZAF Strike Masters Swim Club and the Auckland Base Sustainability Team. She is also an active mentee within the Air Force Mentoring Scheme. In addition, Leading Aircraftman Lockwood has been a leader in the School to Skies Camp in Ohakea as a Deputy Flight Commander and is currently studying towards a Graduate Diploma in Environmental Health.”

The comradeship and commitment LAC Lockwood demonstrates daily to further her colleagues within the Air Force includes encouraging physical training activities and then demonstrating by example how this can benefit personal health and well-being, the citation said.

“LAC Lockwood's passion for sport and well-being in all aspects of body, soul and mind has inspired the diverse people of rank and age at her unit and beyond to get moving. She is a deserving recipient of the Outstanding Sports Award.”

LAC Lockwood has also been nominated by the Sports Council to go forward for the Defence Force Person of the Year Awards.

In an interview prior to her World Championship bid, LAC Lockwood praised the Air Force for getting behind her. “Never give up on your sport when you join the services. The Air Force has really supported me in my build-up towards Worlds. Most units are pretty understanding and supportive about their people keeping fit.”

Our other sportspersons awards for 2023 are:

Individual Sportsperson of the Year - Leading Physical Training Instructor Jack Church

20230912 NZDF P1024180 037 v2

Leading Physical Training Instructor Jack Church competed in the 2023 Invictus Games in Duesseldorf, Germany, winning the gold in the Open Grade Track event, 100m sprints, less than two years after experiencing extreme adversity – a heart transplant.

Emerging Sports Person of the Year - Sub Lieutenant Anneke Arlidge

SLT Alridge

Sub Lieutenant Anneke Arlidge beat the Navy cross-country course record by seven minutes and topped her ‘age-group’ beep test score record, all while being selected in the RNZN Women’s Football team to play against the Māori Football Aotearoa.

Sports Team of the Year - NZDF Women’s Hockey

Sports Team v2

The NZDF Women’s Hockey team performed exceptionally well in 2023 and were invited by Hockey New Zealand to participate in an Anzac Day international hockey double header. The team played their Australian Defence Force counterparts in three matches. The first two were a draw and the third was won by NZDF.

Coach of the Year – Mr Matt Reid

Mr. Matt Reid

Matt Reid has shown great dedication and passion in his role as head coach role for the Invictus Games 23 (IG23) team. The remarkable results from this year’s games demonstrates his ongoing dedication to the team.

Sports Official of the Year - Staff Sergeant Rana Stevens

Sports Official of the Year v2

Staff Sergeant Rana Stevens was selected to form part of the NZDF contingent to the Pacific Islands Cricket Challenge 2023, as an umpire, where he represented the NZDF to a very high standard. He is only the 12th New Zealander to umpire T20 International Cricket.

Defence Force Colours:

Squadron Leader Brent Iggo

Squadron Leader Brent Iggo

Squadron Leader Brent Iggo is the OIC NZDF Hockey, alongside OIC RNZAF Hockey. SQNLDR Iggo led the planning and coordination of the NZDF participation in the 2023 Anzac Series, as well as facilitating and managing the series.

Captain Barrie Law

Captain Barrie Law

Captain Barrie Law was instrumental in producing the first strategic plan for NZDF Rugby League, which approved two matches a year, and having NZDF Rugby League approved by NZRL as an official NZ representative side.

Sergeant Jackie Te Weehi

SGT Jackie Te Weehi

Sergeant Jackie Te Weehi was an inaugural coach of the NZ Army Mixed Netball Team over a period of nine years where the team won every Inter-Service tournament. Her perseverance and dedication made the NZ Army Mixed Netball team an approved sport after six years.