AUT Blue Awards: celebrating students who excel

The AUT Blue Awards recognise AUT students who are excelling in their chosen sport, or area of art and culture, while maintaining a high level of achievement in their studies.

2023 major awards winners

AUT Junior Sportsperson of the Year – Izzy Gaze

Izzy was the vice-captain for the Women’s Under 19 Cricket World Cup where the team managed a semi-final placing. Izzy plays internationally for the White Ferns and domestically for the Auckland Hearts.

Award winner

AUT Māori Athlete of the Year – Briana Irving

Ngāti Porou, Rongowhakaata

Briana Irving was part of the New Zealand surf lifesaving championships team who competed at world championships in Italy. Briana placed 2nd in the world competing in the open beach sprint. She also placed 4th in the open beach relay in her debut as an open New Zealand surf lifesaving member. Brianna has also been selected to attend the international challenge in America where she will be representing New Zealand for the 4th time.

Award winner

AUT Female Athlete of the Year and AUT Sports Scholar – Sylvia Brunt

Sylvia topped off an amazing end to 2022 as part of the Black Ferns that beat England in the World Cup final. She was then rewarded for her hard work in April 2023 when she was signed on to a full-time Black Ferns contract. More recently, Sylvia has been playing for the Black Ferns in the Lauren O’Reiley Cup vs Australia.

Award winner

AUT Male Athlete of the Year – Jaden Movold

Jaden has had a successful athletics season this year, winning NZ national titles in the 800m and 1500m senior men's competition and winning the 400m under 20 men's competition.

Internationally, he won bronze in the open men’s 5000m at the Australia National Championships. There he also won 5 Under 20 gold medals at the ACT Championship in Canberra. And Jaden made his debut as the first New Zealand wheelchair racer to compete at a World Para Athletics Grand Prix in Switzerland.

Currently ranked 1st in the world for the U20 Men’s 5000m, he competes in the most competitive classification in the world of Para Athletics.

Award winner

Creative Group of the Year – Tate Miller and Jeremy Dreyer for Identity Dance Company

Placing 2nd in the world for hip hop, both Jeremy and Tate performed with the dance company ID CO in the megacrew - YUNG ID. Hip Hop Worlds was held in Arizona, USA.

Award winner

Creative Individual Performance of the Year – Tia Barrett

Tia has excelled in her film and photography creative practice. 'He Pounamu Ko Āu' found its place in esteemed film festivals such as the Māoriland Film Festival in Ōtaki, the New Zealand International Film Festival, and the Asinabka Film and Media Arts Festival in Ottawa, Canada. Furthermore, the work was exhibited at CoCA – the Centre of Contemporary Arts Toi Moroki in Christchurch. Tia's accomplishments extend beyond film. As she is a finalist and received highly commended for her photo of her grandmother called 'A Time Capsule of Aroha' in the 2023 Kiingi Tuheitia Portraiture Awards; an event hosted by the New Zealand Portrait Gallery in Wellington.

Award winner

Sport Blue Awards 2023



Archery Vanessa Jim
Athletics (discus) Percy Maka
Athletics (wheelchair sprint) Jaden Movold
Basketball Riana Rangi
Cricket Izzy Gaze
Fencing Tom Jasper Saran
Figure skating Danielle Maria Gebser
Football Marisa Van Der Meer
Hockey Kelc MacKenzie, Emilie Logan, Hayden Ganley
Indoor cricket Brooke James
Karate   Holly Wigg, Chiemu Iioka
Kayaking   Joshua Bull, Tara Vaughan
Paddleboarding Maddie Mcasey
Rugby Holly Williams, Sylvia Logo-I-Pulotu Lemapu Atai’I Brunt
Sailing Greta Pilkington, Maeve White
Surf lifesaving   Briana Irving
Touch Quinn Milich-Misikini
Trampolining Brodie Miller, Brianna Masterton
Ultimate frisbee Elise Matthews, Stephanie Fransen
Volleyball Anaya Cole, Kirsty Laming
Waterpolo Holly Gardner
Yachting Helena Sanderson

Art, Culture and Design Blue Awards 2023



Ceramics pottery/fine arts Emelia French
Dance Hannah Golebiowski
Dance (hip hop) Jeremy Dreyer, Tate Miller
Piano Peien Song
Moving image | Mōteatea | installation art Tia Boni Barrett
Pottery Shenay Lopes
Practice led in academia Yifan Uya (Wade Wu)
West Coast swing dance Danielle Hoult

What are the AUT Blue Awards?

AUT Blue Awards were initiated in collaboration between AUT And AUTSA (formally AUSM) in 2002 to identify high-performance athletes who were also achieving their academic goals.

The Blues are part of a tradition dating back to 1922 in New Zealand and earlier in England, where the colours of Oxford and Cambridge Universities came to symbolise excellence in sport.

Over the years AUT has awarded Blue Awards to a range of sports ranging from rugby and netball to water skiing and underwater hockey.

Some of the high-profile athletes who have received a Blue include Sarah Cowley, Gemma Flynn, Jerome Kaino and Jarred Kenny – Athletics NZ, Hockey NZ and Basketball respectively.

Award categories

Arts, Culture and Design Blue

First introduced in 2018, the Arts, Culture and Design Blue Awards celebrated AUT Students who have excelled in their chosen area at a regional, national or international level.

This Blue Awards category includes achievements ranging from Kapa Haka to Pottery, choreography to poetry and many more.

Sporting Blue

AUT celebrates students who are excelling in their chosen sporting category. These student achievements range from traditional sports such as rugby, horse-riding and canoeing to recreational sports such as surfing, lacrosse and more.

Achievements are awarded at regional to international levels. Sporting Blues criteria are found in the nomination form.

Officials Sporting Blue

AUT Students are awarded a Blue Award for officiating at a high level. This includes officiating at a senior franchise game, officiating at a senior international semi-final or final and more.

Entry criteria

  • Must be a student at AUT enrolled in the 2nd Semester 2022 and/or 1st Semester 2023 academic year, studying (and having passed) at least half-time (30 points per semester) or currently enrolled in a master's or PhD
  • The achievement information provided must relate to the period between 1 September 2022 to August 21 2023
  • The achievement must fall within the period of enrolment at AUT

Blue Awards: see what it’s like


Previous Blue Award winners

2020 AUT Blue Award winners

Acting – Peter Leaupepe
Aerobic gymnastics – Catrin Pearce
Athletics – Amanda Hoyler, Anne Katrina Elizabeth Andrew, Mikael Starzynski
Boxing – Dominic Roe
Cheerleading – Georgia Jurkovich
Figure Skating – Vanessa Preston
Football – Kelli Brown, Marisa van der Meer
Ice Hockey – Alex Hyde, Lochlyn Hyde, Terryn
Inline Hockey – Devon Stove
Karate – Holly Wigg, Konstantin Kechin
Netball – Tayla Earle
Racketlon – Edward Ashworth
Rugby Sevens – Grace Kukutai
Sailing – Charlotte Porter, Isabella Boyd, Robbie McCutcheon
Singing (Acapella) – Persis Darukhanawalla
Touch – Alyssa Clemas, Fin Barnett

There were no major award winners in 2020 due to COVID-19.

2020 Meritorious Performance Awards

Powerlifting – Chris Kennedy
Waka Ama – Kacey Ngataki

2020 Contribution to Sport Award

Touch (refereeing) – Ben Matthews

2021 AUT Sportsperson of the Year

Hope Ralph - Hockey

 Award winner

2021 AUT Blue Award winners



Athletics Camryn Smart, Connor Bell, George Kozlov, Isabel Neal
Basketball Scott Telfer
Football Marisa van der Meer
Ice Hockey Alex Hefford, Lochlyn Hyde
Karate Holly Wigg, Konstantin Kechin
Music (Trombone) Ben Matthews
Music (Pipe band) Timothy Chia
Sailing Charlotte Porter, Paige Cook
Touch Alyssa Clemas, Fin Barnett
Triathlon Ainsley Thorpe
Waka Ama Kacey Ngataki

Major Awards 2022

AUT Sports Scholar of the Year - Jessica Milicich

Jessica competed at the FINA World Championships with the New Zealand Senior Women’s Waterpolo team, taking place in Budapest, Hungary. The team secured 10th place overall and she celebrated her 50th International Test Cap. Nationally, Jessica played for the Marist Magic at New Zealand Waterpolo Championships where they took home gold. Jessica is completing her Master of Business.

Award winner

AUT Male Athlete of the Year – Kacey Ngataki

Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Tamaoho, Tainui

Studying physiotherapy, Kacey competed at the IVF Sprint Championships held in the United Kingdom, winning first place in the Open Men’s V1 500m and first place in the Elite Men V12 500m.

Award winner

AUT Female Athlete of the Year – Izzy Gaze

Izzy is completing a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation. Izzy played on the New Zealand White Ferns Commonwealth Games Squad. The team won bronze at the Commonwealth Games.

Award winner

AUT Junior Athlete of the Year – Sylvia Brunt

Playing on the New Zealand Women’s Rugby Team, the Black Ferns, Sylvia competed at the Pacific Four Nations Competition where they won gold against the USA. She is studying a Bachelor of Health Science.

Award winner

AUT Māori Athlete of the Year – Kacey Ngataki

Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Tamaoho, Tainui

Kacey competed at the IVF Sprint Championships held in the United Kingdom, winning first place in the Open Men’s V1 500m and first place in the Elite Men V12 500m.

Award winner

Sport Blue Awards 2022



Archery Vanessa Jim
Athletics Camryn Smart
Athletics (Sprinting) Isabel Neal
Athletics (Wheelchair racing) Jaden Movold
Badminton   Adam Jeffrey, Sally Fu, Camellia Zhou
Canoe Polo   Hayley Cameron, Damon Dickons
Cricket Izzy Gaze
Cycling   Georgia Danford
Football   Marisa van der Meer
Futsal   Hannah Milligan
Karate   Chiemu Iioka, Holly Wigg
Kayaking   Tara Vaughan
Netball   Danielle Binks , Tayla Earle, Elle Temu
Rugby Sylvia Brunt
Sailing Greta Pilkington
Sailing (Match Racing)   Robbie McCutcheon, Maeve White
Surf Life Saving   Briana Irving
Trampolining Brodie Miller
Ultimate Frisbee Kate Charlesworth
Volleyball Luis Paulo
Waka Ama Kacey Ngataki
Waterpolo Holly Gardner, Jessica Milicich, Sophie Shorter-Robinson
Yachting Helena Sanderson

Art, Culture and Design Blue Awards 2022



Art and Design (Spatial Design) Rafik Patel
Dance Choreography Cara Lea Wright
Electronic and Environmental Art Pasha Clothier
Music Composition   Joshua Pearson
Music (Trombone) Ben Matthews
Pottery Shenay Lopes
Practice Led in Academia Yifan Uya (Wade Wu)
West Coast Swing Dance Danielle Hoult

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