Unison’s Annual Medal Ceremonies Celebrate Young Sports People’s Achievements
Over 590 young netball, hockey, football and rugby players were recognised at the Unison Medal Ceremonies, marking the end of the junior winter sports season for 2023. Held at the prestigious Napier Municipal Theatre, these ceremonies recognise the hard work, discipline, and fair play demonstrated by young people on and off the field.
The first to receive the Unison Medal were junior netball players, who were presented the awards by Hawke's Bay Netball Senior Men's players. To add to the excitement, former Silver Fern, Irene van Dyk joined each recipient for a celebratory photo.
Hawke’s Bay Senior Men’s player, Jack Bentin, who also received a Unison Medal in 2017, emphasised the importance of recognising children not just for their talent, but also for their qualities as team players.
“Often only the players who score the most goals or run the fastest are recognised at the end of season. It’s awesome to see these players celebrated for the positive impact they have on their team. You can really see the enjoyment as the kids walk across the stage to receive their medal.
“I was stoked to be a part of this ceremony as a guest and seeing how proud these young players were when they received their medal just like I was when I received mine,” Mr Bentin said.
Eleven-year-old medal recipient, Amy Martin from Hastings Christian School, said she was thrilled to receive her medal.
“I felt very proud of myself and enjoyed receiving my medal in front of lots of people.
“I love playing netball, it’s my favourite thing to do. I like playing with my friends at school and passing the ball on the court,” Miss Martin said.
Black Stick, Kaitlin Cotter attended the ceremony for hockey and was very pleased to celebrate the significant occasion with each of the recipients.
“I enjoy attending community events like this when I’m able to, especially in my home town. When the kids’ faces light up as they receive their medal, it makes it all worth it.
“Playing hockey at the top level, the teammates I enjoy playing with the most are those who are great team players and try their hardest, so it’s fantastic to see so many children celebrated for showing these same values this evening,” Miss Cotter said.
Unison General Manager Commercial, Jason Larkin said Unison are always excited for the annual medal ceremonies as they are a highlight for many young players across the region.
“15 years of our Greatest Supporter programme has contributed to the development, wellbeing and education of a generation of young people, and it’s great to now see former medal winners representing their region or country and back presenting medals to the next generation.
“The programme also serves as an invaluable platform to promote safety messages and educate young people about our electrical assets. We’re very grateful to the clubs and schools who nominated this year’s outstanding performers,” Mr Larkin said.
32 Unison Medals were also presented to junior hockey players in Taupō last week.