Sportsperson of the Year 2020: Katie Perkins
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In a year where the word “disrupted” was a bit of an understatement, Katie Perkins was grateful she got to travel to Brisbane with the New Zealand White Ferns cricket team in September 2020 for the first international fixture in the world that was able to have crowds in attendance since Covid-19 lockdowns.
It was a special moment for the team, despite losses in the ODI and T20 series – 3-0 and 2-1 respectively – and it was followed by the highlight of Katie’s year. She was signed by the Adelaide Strikers T20 franchise team as an international replacement for their squad.
Although she played in only one match during the women’s Big Bash tournament, she stayed on for five weeks (on LWOP from Police) and the experience was invaluable for the batting specialist.
At the start of 2020, Katie had helped her Auckland Hearts team reach the Super Smash T20 final, which they lost to Wellington.
In six T20s from January 1, 2020, Katie scored 210 runs at an average of 42. She ended up as the top run scorer (485 runs – average 69.28) for the competition season that had started at the end of 2019.
Early in 2020, the White Ferns met South Africa in an ODI and T20 series in New Zealand. They lost the first series 3-nil, but Katie top scored in the first ODI with 78. Her focus turned to T20 and she played in two of the T20s against South Africa, which the White Ferns won 3-1.
Katie was then part of the White Ferns squad that travelled to Australia for the 2020 ICC T20 World Cup, in which the White Ferns were knocked out at the end of the pool matches. The planned April tour of Sri Lanka was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In December last year, after her arrival back in New Zealand, Katie immediately joined the Auckland Hearts in Invercargill for round two of the one-day domestic season. In her four innings for the Hearts (against Otago and Northern Districts), she scored 5, 39, 45 and 63, averaging 50.66.
The 2020/21 Super Smash T20 competition kicked off on Christmas Eve and before the new year, Katie had played against Wellington, Otago and Central Districts, scoring 15, 25 and 20 in a slow, but steady, start to her T20 campaign.
This year, Katie was one of an impressive line-up in the very first Police Women’s First XI cricket team which played a series of 40-over matches in the South Island.
Katie missed out on White Ferns selection for the recent home series against England and Australia as the team blood some new players in preparation for the ICC Women’s World Cup being held in New Zealand next year.
Selection for the World Cup is still a goal, giving her plenty of motivation to continue playing.
Meanwhile, Katie says she is excited to have started her new role on the Counties Manukau Supported Resolutions Team. Her ngākau (deep enthusiasm) lies with supporting people through times in their life when they need help. “I have seen how the court system doesn’t always work for families, especially when their offending is triggered by poverty or hardship. Supported Resolutions is the future of policing and the justice sector.”
It’s a natural progression from her youth engagement work and her commitment to her South Auckland community. She continues to use all home Super Smash rounds as an opportunity to seek donations for the pātaka kai (community pantry) outside her Manurewa home that she is the kaitiaki for.
The past year was certainly disruptive, but for Katie it was also “pretty amazing” with some silver linings among the crises.
Because of Covid-19 restrictions, she was unable to be personally presented with her 2019 Sportsperson of the Year Award last year, but she’s on track to get her hands on the 2020 prize from Police Association president Chris Cahill later this month.
Other Police Association and Police Sport awards for 2020
Referee/Umpire of the Year – Constable Selica Winiata (Central Districts)
Black Fern Selica Winiata is a New Zealand national referee and was a World Series Sevens Referee in Dubai, Hong Kong and South Africa in 2020. She is captain of the Manawatu Cyclones women’s rugby team. She referees local sevens secondary school tournaments and 15-aside games on Saturdays, and was the referee at the Red Bull Ignite Sevens. She is a mentor and coach for young players and is a life coach and motivational speaker.
Sports Administrator of the Year – Senior Constable Warren Bunn (Northland)
Warren Bunn has been a football referee for 30 years. He is a life member of the Northern Regional Football Federation and for the past five years has coached new referees. Three years ago, he became a Level 1 referee assessor and in 2019 took up the role of Northland-based referee development officer, managing referee schedules for all weekend games and overseeing coaching and assessments for 21 referees. He is treasurer of the Northland Police Football Club and a life member of the Bream Bay Football Club at Ruakaka. He organises the Northland football team for the Police Association Winter Games and, at 61, is the oldest player in the team.
Sports Team of the Year – Police Women’s Hockey Team
The team won the 2020 interservices tournament in Wellington, convincingly beating the Air Force, Army and Navy teams. The team have won the competition consecutively since 2008. Several of the team are also members of the New Zealand Police Hockey team and represent their districts and associations in a playing and coaching capacity.