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Fairweather Wins Supreme Award at Māori Sports Awards

Wrap of the 2023 Māori Sports Awards

The 2023 Māori Sports Awards were held on Saturday night at the Mercury Arena in Mount Maunganui. It was a successful night showcasing some of our top swimmers, with Erika Fairweather and Cameron Leslie taking home major awards after their impressive 12 months.

For the second year in a row, Erika Fairweather (Ngāi Tahu) took out the Te Tamāhine-Ā-Papatūānuku, Junior Māori Sportswomen of the Year. She also took home the Albie Pryor Memorial Māori Sportsperson of the Year award, following on from Lewis Clareburt's win in 2022.

Erika has been an outstanding role model for the wider swimming community and has had an exceptional year, with some of her highlights over the past 12 months including:

  • Winning the bronze medal and breaking her NZ record in the Women's 400m Freestyle at the Fukuoka 2023 World Aquatics Championships. In the process she also became the 5th female ever to break the 4 minute barrier.

  • Winning gold and the World Cup record in the 400m Freestyle at all three of the 2023 World Aquatics World Cup Series on consecutive weekends in Berlin, Athens, and Budapest.

  • Winning two silver medals in the Women's 400m and 800m Freestyle at the 2022 FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships in Melbourne.

  • Three-time National LC Champion in the Women's 200m, 400m, and 800m Freestyle.

  • Three-time National SC Champion in the Women's 100m, 200m, and 400m Freestyle.

After all her success this year, Erika has continued to stay humble and grateful.

"I'm incredibly humbled to even be nominated into a category with such high performing athletes, let alone take it out! I truely didn't believe it was going to be me!""

Cameron Leslie (Ngāpuhi) was also a category winner in the Te Toihuarewa, Māori Paralympic Athlete/Team of the year. Cameron received this award after another incredible 12 months, where he won four medals at the 2023 Para Swimming World Championships in Manchester, which included gold in the S4 50m Backstroke, silver in the S4 50m and S4 100m Freestyle and bronze in the S4 200m Freestyle. Cameron also played a key role in the NZ Wheel Blacks team at the recent World Championships in France, and was a finalist for the Laureus Sportsperson with a Disability Award earlier this year.

Congratulations Erika and Cam, your continued success is well deserved and continue to be role models within our sport.

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