Gavin Elmiger and Steve Richards appointed CRNZ Life Members

Gavin Elmiger and Steve Richards were appointed CRNZ Life Members at the 2022 CRNZ Annual General Meeting on Saturday evening,  voted in by CRNZ club delegates as per the constitution.

Appointed as Life Members “in recognition of his contribution to CRNZ and the sport of kayaking”, both Gavin and Steve were worthy recipients having both dedicated 20 plus years of service to the sport, in varying roles and duties, and were honoured at the CRNZ Annual awards following the AGM.

Gavin Elmiger

Gavin has given 22 years of service to CRNZ and the sport of kayaking as a coach, volunteer and official. He was nominated for a Life Membership by the North Shore Canoe Club.

Gavin’s life in kayaking started as an athlete. From 1995 to 2000 he represented NZ in both team and individual events, and won NZ National K1 500m titles in 1998 and 1999.

When he retired as a paddler, Gavin took up positions in coaching and volunteering. He has been North Shore Canoe Club’s lead coach since 2003, playing a key part in building the club’s program and developing many of NZ’s top paddlers. He coached the NZ Junior World Champs and Youth Olympic teams in 2007, has been a NZ U23 Development Coach and Auckland Regional Coach and most recently played an important coaching role in Corbin Hart’s outstanding Paralympic debut and Aimee Fisher’s World title. Gavin has been awarded CRNZ Coach of the Year in 2015, 2019 and 2021. He assisted the Samoan and Cook Islands teams in the leadup to the Tokyo Olympic Games. He has also been appointed as a coach for the 2021 CRNZ Junior Worlds program.

As a volunteer, Gavin has served on the CRNZ Board, the North Shore Club Committee and as a CRNZ Selector. He is an internationally qualified official and a regular helper at CRNZ events. He received a CRNZ Service Award in 2016. Gavin is currently involved in launching the CRNZ Try Learn Explore program at North Shore. He is developing a whole new cohort of coaches and taking a leadership role in growing a large grassroots paddling program at the club, which will feed into North Shore’s already successful development program.

Gav is a beacon of enthusiasm and joy. His love of paddling is infectious. We feel very fortunate that he is part of our sport and grateful for his contribution.

Steve Richards

Steve Richards came to kayaking via surf life saving in Paekakariki. His talent as a young paddler was noticed, and he moved to Auckland in the mid-80s to train at North Shore Canoe Club. Steve represented New Zealand in the K4 at the Seoul 1988 and Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games.

Since his retirement from elite paddling, Steve has made enormous contributions to CRNZ as a selector, most recently as Convenor of Selectors, a role that he has held for a decade. He received a Service Award in 2014. Steve has been nominated for life membership by the CRNZ Board.

As a selector, Steve has given hundreds of hours of his time to supervising CRNZ’s selection processes. He has made countless trips to visit training camps, selection trials and regattas. His methodical approach and athlete- centred perspective ensure that processes are as transparent as possible and policies are applied consistently. This, in turn, has contributed to a number of athletes’ careers and to New Zealand’s outstanding success on the World and Olympic stage.

Steve remains a keen paddler and can regularly be seen on Lake Taupo. We are grateful for his contribution and enthusiasm and look forward to many more years of his involvement.