41 AUT students were honoured for their sporting, artistic and cultural successes on Friday at the AUT Blue Awards.
This year the awards introduced the category of arts and culture, acknowledging both high performance athletes and high achieving artistic and cultural students.
Former Silver Fern and international netball coach Linda Vagana MC’d the award ceremony. Attendees also heard from guest speaker Alexis Pritchard – AUT alumna and Olympic Boxer, Deputy Vice Chancellor Geoff Perry and AUTSA Vice President Dharyin Colbert
The awards ceremony culminated with the presentation of four major awards – AUT Creative or Artistic Individual Performance of the Year, AUT Female Athlete of the Year, AUT Male Athlete of the Year, and AUT Sportsperson of the Year.
The AUT Creative or Artistic Individual Performance of the Year award went to Lauren Gibbs for her achievements in spatial design. These include being a finalist at the Best Awards 2017 as well as the 2018 International DULUX Colour Awards.
Lauren said the AUT spatial design programme has allowed her to explore her curiosity in the field and feels very humbled to be the very first recipient of the award. “I hope that what I have achieved during my time both within and outside of AUT will inspire other creatives to simply pursue the thing they love, work hard and simply keep making,” she said.
The AUT Female Athlete of the Year and AUT Sportsperson of the year awards went to Rebecca Gatland for her achievements in underwater hockey. Rebecca has been playing underwater hockey for nine years, starting her journey in high school.
She has played in her age group team for New Zealand for the last six years and played for the elite women’s team for the first time this year, who won gold at the 2018 Underwater Hockey.
Between training 8-14 sessions a week for her tournaments, Rebecca studies physiotherapy. “AUT has been amazing at rescheduling my placements so that it was possible to both play and train for the competition and complete my degree by the end of the year. The lecturers have all been very supportive all the way through. I couldn't have done it without all the amazing people I have met throughout my degree that helped me study and catch up,” she said.
The AUT Male Athlete of the Year award went to Jared Panchia for his achievements in hockey.
Jared is in his sixth year at AUT, studying towards a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Business, conjoint.
He is a member of the New Zealand Men’s Black Sticks Hockey team who won Silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast of Australia. He also played in the Auckland NHL men’s hockey team who won silver in the 2017 National Hockey League.