Two local women received recognition for their service to Tauranga Hockey at last week's Hockey New Zealand Awards.
Caroline Bigham was named Community Administrator of the Year, while Kelly Hudson claimed Female Umpire of the Year.
Caroline says she was ‘quite honoured' to find out Tauranga Hockey had nominated her.
“It's my passion. I've enjoyed what I've got out of hockey, and now I have a chance to put something back in.”
She first got into the game when she was seven years old, moving into the administrative side of things when she started her family more than thirty years ago.
“My father was an umpire – he was very involved in hockey in the Wairarapa. So I suppose it's in the blood.”
Kelly, who has umpired at the Rio Olympics and is also officiating development officer for Tauranga Hockey, says she has been involved in umpiring at a higher level since she first got her international badge in 2005.
“There's about seven of us women who are international officials now,” she says. “It is awesome recognition for a role that is totally voluntary.”
She also has a big milestone coming up next week, if everything aligns, with a hundredth test game waiting to be umpired.
“Games seem to have clocked up really slowly for me. I'm currently on 97 senior international caps, and next week there's a test series for the New Zealand women's team against the visiting Indian team. So hopefully I'll crack a hundred then.”
Tauranga Hockey general manager Clinton Butler is thrilled to see the dedication and performance of both Caroline and Kelly rewarded.
“We're very proud of their achievements. It's great for us to have someone standing on the world stage as an umpire in Kelly, while for Caroline, it is fantastic recognition of the work she puts in. She's here all the time, and coordinates the AIMS Games, which is a huge job.”
Kelly Hudson, Female Umpire of the Year. Supplied photo.