Congratulations to our 2023 CRNZ Award Winners

We are thrilled to announce the winners of the Canoe Racing NZ Sports and Recognition Awards for 2023, recognised at a ceremony at Lake Tikitapu this evening.

Lisa Carrington Cup for 2023 Junior Athlete of the Year-  Natasha MacGibbon (Arawa Canoe Club)
At the 2023 ICF Junior Canoe Sprint World Championships in Italy, Natasha MacGibbon made two A finals, finishing 5th in the U18 K1 1000m and 6th in the K2 500m alongside Greer Morley.
Back home, Natasha earned three U18 National titles in the K2 500m and K4 200m & 500m, as well as 10 Oceania and Asia Pacific medals across the board in April.


2023 23&U Athlete of the Year- Alicia Hoskin (North Shore Canoe Club)
Alicia was seat 2 in the NZ women’s K4 crew who claimed an historic gold medal and world title at the 2023 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Duisberg. This year, she also won 2 ICF World Cup Gold medals with Lisa Carrington in the K2 500m, as well as a silver and bronze medal in the K4 at World Cups in Szeged and Paris. At the NZ National Champs, she won the NZ U23 K1 500m and 200m National titles, and was 3rd and 2nd overall respectively in the Open age group, as well as winning the open womens K2 500m gold medal.


Brett Leask Cup for 2023 Masters Athlete of the Year – Troy Burbidge  (Waitara Kayak Club)
At the 2023 NZ Sprint Nationals, Troy won gold in the K1 Masters Men 35-44 200m final. He was also part of the Waitara Masters Men K4 team who claimed bronze in the 500m.


Ian Ferguson Cup for 2023 Female Canoe Sprint Athlete of the Year – Lisa Carrington (Eastern Bay Canoe Racing Club)
At the 2023 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships, Dame Lisa Carrington won 3 Gold Medals, retaining her K1 200m and K1 500m world titles and making history by being part of the first NZ K4 team to win a world title. This performance secured for New Zealand the K4 Olympic qualification for Paris next year. This year Lisa added 5 more ICF World Cup medals to her tally (3x gold, 1x silver, 1x bronze) across K1, K2 and K4 events and she won both the K1 500m and K1 200m NZ national titles.


2023 Male Canoe Sprint Athlete of the Year- Scott Martlew (Arawa Canoe Club)
Scott won the NZ Paracanoe K1 National Championships in April then went on to win 2 ICF World Cup silver medals this year in the Mens KL2 200m events in Szeged and Paris. At the World Champs, he was 4th in the KL2 200m event, earning his spot for the 2024 Paralympics in Paris.


2023 Marathon Athlete of the Year-  Emma Kemp (Mana Kayak Club)
Emma has had a stella year in marathon paddling. Her focused marathon training saw her crowned as U23 K1 Marathon Champion and 4th in the U23 WK1 Oceania and Australian Marathon Championships. At the world championships in Denmark, Emma raced with a lot of grit and determination to finish in 11th place in the U23 Womans K1 marathon, as well as 15th in the Open womens short course event. Emma also showed her distance racing prowess with an impressive 4th place in the 5000m event at the U23 Sprint World Championships.


2023 Ocean surfski Athlete of the Year- Danielle McKenzie (North Shore Canoe Club)
Before switching her focus to sprint, Danielle McKenzie was a dominant force in the 2022/23 ocean racing international scene. She won silver in the open women at the 2022 Ocean Ski World Champs in Portugal before going on to win the 2022 Doctor event in Perth – arguably the most esteemed race in international ocean ski racing, as well as claiming Western Australia Race Week title and the 20 Beaches event in Sydney.


MacDonald/Thompson/Ferguson/Bramwell Cup for 2023 Team of the Year- NZ Womens K4 team – Lisa Carrington, Alicia Hoskin, Olivia Brett, Tara Vaughan
The NZ womens K4 team made history this year when they became the first NZ team to win a K4 world championship at the 2023 Canoe Sprint World Championships in Duisburg. This was the first time a non-european team had won this event. In doing so, they qualified a NZ K4 for the Paris Olympics next year. The team also won ICF World Cup silver and bronze medals Szeged and Paris.

Gordon Walker Cup for 2023 Coach of the Year-
Gary Waller (Eastern Bay Canoe Racing Club)
Spanning 20 years, Gary has been coaching kayaking in Whakatane. From Lisa Carrington to NZ National teams to new paddlers trying it for the first time, Gary has always been there for his paddlers, the club and CRNZ. Eastern Bay Canoe Racing Club is a small club that punches well above it weight as it continues to consistently produce national age champions and bring more new paddlers into the sport, through Gary’s dedication and athlete centred approach.


Don Cooper Cup for 2023 Official of the Year – Toni Hoskin
Toni has been an official at CRNZ events for the past 10 years and is the constant happy smiling face of Race control. She has an amazing ability to ensure athletes get to the start line on time and with the least amount of stress to them. Toni also leads the medal presentations at national events.
This year Toni officiated at her first World Cup as competition manager and from all accounts did a very good job. Toni was also an area coordinator at the Asia Pacific event in May. Toni is an awesome official that always has the paddlers front of mind. Toni also plays a key role in the Aims games held each year, making the event a supportive, inclusive and fun environment for our youngest and newest paddlers, often at their first kayaking event.


Dennis Rae Trophy for 2023 Volunteer of the Year-  Jordan Pearson (Arawa Canoe Club)
Jordan Pearson joined Arawa Canoe Club in 2022 after spending many years paddling whitewater. His impact on Arawa was immediate.  Jordan began running regular weekly races and series to help grow the sport. He has run a succession of popular race series which have helped increase paddler numbers and raised money for the junior paddlers of the club. Besides organising races, Jordan has also been an active member of the Arawa Club committee. He helped arrange the installation of an AED so that area around the club is covered. His commitment to the sport is shown through his can-do attitude and for the many hours he spends helping the club directly, and his contribution to paddling overall, junior paddlers in particular. 2023 Spirit of Paddling Award – Emma Kemp (Mana Kayak Club)
Emma exemplifies the Spirit of Paddling.  She is the most positive person you can imagine – always bubbly and excited about anything paddling!  Whether it’s 5.30am training, or the end of the last day of an event, her infectious smile, bouncy enthusiasm and supportive hugs are always evident.  Paddling plays a huge part in Emma’s life. She is training as a performance athlete, funding herself whilst still studying but she has also taken on the role of president at Mana as the position needed filing and she stepped up
As a team member she is always super supportive of everyone.  She is respectful and earnest with the coaches, managers and support staff. She is always willing to help whenever needed in any capacity. She’s a fantastic member of the Mana club and a real asset to the paddling community.

Rod Gavin Cup for 2023 Club of the Year – Waitara Kayak Club

Waitara Kayak Club renewed their strategy and focus over the last couple years to ensure a sustainable and effective club environment and develop systems and programmes to allow the club to grow.

By building a team of coaches to share the workload and allow coaches to achieve their own paddling goals, they have still managed to produce some exceptional paddlers this year, including 5 junior and U23 athletes that represented NZ at international events this year. This is a outstanding ratio for a small regional club. The club encourages their kayakers to most importantly enjoy their paddling, and offers a range of opportunities to participate and compete in various paddling disciplines, to keep it fun, challenging and engaging throughout the year.

Waitara Kayak Club have worked hard this year on growing an inclusive and safe environment to bring new paddlers into the sport. They successfully secured funding to purchase new suitable beginner level craft, and have found additional paddling venues away from their club, which provide safer and more appropriate options based on the needs of newer paddlers. It has also increased their catchment area and they have been able to offer paddling to more people on the wider New Plymouth area. The club has become an accredited Try Learn Explore paddling provider and has connected with local schools to help kids learn to kayak to participate in Aims Games. The club is looking forward to running their own development focused Kahawai challenge event in a few weeks. The club is also well on its way to becoming a PaddleAble club, committed to being a disability inclusive environment.
President David Sleep and his team have done an exceptional job at Waitara Kayak Club this year, and it has taken a lot of effort and commitment from many. We are pleased to acknowledge and congratulate Waitara on being CRNZ’s Club of the Year for 2023.


The following Outstanding Service , Recognition and Excellence Awards, were also presented.

Outstanding Service Awards (10+ years of service to the sport)

Bruce Johnston – Arawa Canoe Club
Bruce has given outstanding service to the Arawa Canoe Club as the club Secretary for more than 20 years.  He’s been a great source of stability as committee members have come and gone, which has gone a long way to ensuring the club is consistent with positive initiatives, and avoids repeating mistakes. As a professional accountant, he has contributed very valuable (and free!) advice to the club and has been absolutely rigorous in keeping the club in very good financial shape and ensuring the club continues to do the right thing in all respects.  He’s also still deeply involved in club operations and he’s been a regular coach for the Saturday morning beginner sessions, introducing new multisporters to the joys of kayaking. The Outstanding Service Award has been long overdue for Bruce, for all the great work he’s put in to the Arawa Club over many years.


Barry Coleman- Hawkes Bay Kayak Racing Club
Barry has been coaching at Hawkes Bay Kayak Racing Club for over 14 years  and at the age of 74, he continues to inspire us all by generously volunteering his time by coaching novice kids least three times a week, all year round.
His commitment goes above and beyond, as he not only imparts invaluable knowledge and skills to these young athletes but also actively participates, kayaking alongside them on the water ensuring their safety. Barry’s tireless efforts have not only contributed to the success of our club but have also left an indelible mark on the lives of countless individuals, fostering a love for the sport and instilling in them the values of teamwork, sportsmanship, and determination.  Barry is loyal, shows a passion for the sport and is a true embodiment of selfless service, making him the epitome of a deserving recipient for this prestigious recognition.


Wayne Jones- Nelson Surfski Club
For 25 years “Jonesy” has paddled, time kept, blown starter horns, pressed stop watch buttons, taught beginners, advised athletes, organised banners, cooked sausages and driven safety boats for Nelson Surfski Club. Anything that needs to be done, Wayne will do it happily. He has given so much time and effort to the club over the years, and Nelson Surfski Club is incredibly grateful to him.


Excellence Awards-  Exceptional level of achievement or contribution to the sport. 

Lisa Carrington in recognition of outstanding achievement in gaining Gold Medals in the K1 200m, K1 500m and K4 500m at the 2023 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Germany.

Alicia Hoskin in recognition of outstanding achievement in gaining a Gold Medal in the K4 500m at the 2023 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Germany.

Tara Vaughan in recognition of outstanding achievement in gaining a Gold Medal in the K4 500m at the 2023 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Germany.

Olivia Brett in recognition of outstanding achievement in gaining a Gold Medal in the K4 500m at the 2023 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Germany.

Scott Martlew in recognition of outstanding achievement in gaining a 2 silver medals at 2023 ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup events.

Aimee Fisher in recognition of outstanding achievement in gaining a gold medal and silver medal at 2023 ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup events.

Danielle McKenzie in recognition of outstanding achievement in gaining a silver medal at 2023 ICF Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships in Portugal.

Gordon Walker in recognition of outstanding achievement in Coaching 2023.

Matt Warren in recognition of outstanding achievement in officiating at the 2023 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Germany

Karen Simpson-Warren in recognition of outstanding achievement in officiating at the 2023 ICF Canoe Sprint Junior World Championships in Italy

Alison Harris in recognition of outstanding achievement in officiating at the 2023 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Germany

Terry Newsome in recognition of outstanding achievement in officiating at the 2023 Canoe Marathon Championships held in Denmark.


A heartfelt congratulations to all our winners, and also our finalists this year. Your dedication, skill, and passion for canoe racing have not only earned you these awards but have also fueled the excitement and growth of our incredible community.