Massey to honour student athletes with Blues awards
Finalists for the Massey University Blues Sports Awards have been announced – the highest sporting accolade given in the
New Zealand tertiary system.
This year Massey is awarding 138 Blues Awards to 131 student-athletes. Seven athletes will be receiving an award in two
Olympic, Commonwealth Games and World Championship Track Cycling medallist Simon van Velthooven, who is also a current
Massey student, is the guest speaker at the awards, which are being held on the Auckland campus on October 19.
Known for his explosive speed and long sprint, the 28-year-old from Manawatū was recruited by Emirates Team New Zealand
to provide the power that allowed the catamaran to be so competitive in Bermuda and ultimately bring the America’s Cup
home to Auckland. Mr van Velthooven is currently completing his Bachelor of Applied Science, majoring in Rural Valuation
and Management, via distance.
Massey University Distance Sportswoman of the Year nominees:
Brooke Donoghue – Rowing
Mary Fisher – Para-swimming
Luuka Jones – Canoe Slalom
Jessica Miller – Surf Life Saving
Melody Matheson – Equestrian
Grace Prendergast – Rowing
Massey University Distance Sportsman of the Year nominees:
Jamie Mackintosh – Rugby
Hayden Phillips – Hockey
Anton Sunde – Water Polo
Cory Taylor – Surf Life Saving
These awards are for students studying via distance learning, and highlight Massey University’s longstanding reputation
for providing the highest level of flexibility, tailored to the life of the high-performing athlete. As a result of this
dedication, Massey was the first in New Zealand to be named an athlete-friendly university by High Performance Sport New
The Massey University Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards is for trophies given to athletes from each of
Massey’s three campuses in Auckland, Manawatū and Wellington.
Massey University Albany Campus Sportsman of the Year nominees:
Matt Alexander - Tennis
Aaron Booth – Athletics
Massey University Albany Campus Sportswoman of the Year nominees:
Deena Franklin – Basketball
Tessa Jopp - Hockey
The story of the Blues sports awards originated in England in the mid-1890s. Fierce rivalry between Oxford and Cambridge
Universities, competing in very different shades of blue, heralded the beginning of the sporting award now known as the
“Blue”. It wasn’t until 1912 that the University of Cambridge formed a committee to oversee the task of awarding “Blues
to those students who had excelled both on and off the field of play”.
The tradition of awarding New Zealand University Blues began in 1919, and Massey University began this tradition in
1934. In 1990, the Massey University Blues Sports Awards committee was formally constituted, and today the rich
tradition of awarding Blues continues.
This year is the 30th anniversary of the inaugural presentation of the Massey University Sportsperson of the Year Award.
Sport at Massey has come a long way since 1987 with the Academy of Sport opening in 2006, enabling our athletes to work
with High Performance Coordinators, who provide individually-tailored support to assist with academic planning alongside
With a combination of on-campus, distance or mix-mode study options, and the choice of either full-time or part-time
study, athletes can fit their study around their sporting commitments so they are able to participate on the
international sporting stage.
Time: 6.30pm – Award presentations, entertainment, drinks and canapes
Date: Thursday October 19
Location: Atrium Round Room, Gate One, Massey University Auckland campus in Albany
Host: Former sports broadcaster Hamish McKay
The event for students from the Wellington and Manawatū campuses will be held in Palmerston North on Tuesday October 17.
• Massey University’s earliest recipient of a New Zealand Blues Award was Mac Cooper in 1934 for rugby. Previous
winners include Olympians Lisa Carrington, Hamish Bond and Luuka Jones.
• Massey University was the first in New Zealand to be named an athlete-friendly university by High Performance
• 111 Prime Ministers Athlete Scholarships were awarded to Massey University athletes in 2017.