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    Celebrating our student athletes


Blues Awards


Nominations for the 2020 awards are now closed.*

Nominees will be contacted again following the selection committee meeting. 

*Please note that due to the COVID-19 global pandemic the 2020 Blues Awards will be slightly different. While nominations are open and being accepted for this year’s awards, there will be no awards ceremonies held or awards presented in 2020.

Student-athletes can still receive a 2020 Blue (and must apply using the online nomination form to be considered) but all awards for 2020 will be presented at a combined 2020/2021 Blues Awards function to be held in late 2021 (if made possible with the national alert levels at that time). If a recipient is unable to attend the function in 2021, their award/s will be posted to them after the function.

We are aware that many athletes have not been able to achieve their sporting goals this year due to the pandemic and associated cancellation of national and international sporting events, and therefore may not be eligible for a Blue this year. We recognise that this has been a deeply unsettling time for many of you and share your disappointment. However we wish to still acknowledge those that have competed either prior to, or following, the lockdown in NZ and have met the Blues criteria.  

In order to maintain consistency with previous and future Blues Awards there will be no changes to the academic or sporting eligibility standard required for a Blue this year.
The sporting criteria is set by the NSO and is different for each sport, however if you have achieved a good placing at a national event, or represented a regional or national team then we strongly encourage you to apply.

General Blues Information 

The New Zealand Universities Blues Award is the highest sporting accolade given in the NZ tertiary system. It is part of a tradition dating from 1922 in New Zealand and earlier in England, where the colours of Oxford and Cambridge Universities came to be a symbol for sporting excellence.

Sporting ‘blues’ have been made famous by the rivalry between England’s most famous universities, Oxford and Cambridge. ‘Oxford’ blues were only awarded for ‘real’ sports, such as rowing, rugby and cricket. Athletes in other codes could only aspire to half blues. One Irish University purportedly awards top athletes ‘pinks’.

View List of Past Recipients | | Nominations

Award history

Massey University’s earliest recipient of a New Zealand University Blues Award was Mac Cooper in 1934 for Rugby. Mac Cooper also won a Rhodes Scholarship in 1934 and played against the NZ All Blacks in 1935 for Oxford and Scotland. George Robinson and Eric Orgias were awarded Blues in 1935 for Athletics. Hockey player Hector Lawry also won an NZU Blue in 1935.

In 1990, Massey University resurrected the practice of awarding blues to its top sporting students in all sports with the Massey Blues Awards, funded by the University and the Students’ Association, with sponsorship from the Bank of New Zealand. A selection committee was elected and a formal set of guidelines for potential recipients established, to ensure a high standard and consistency across the codes. Improved marketing and an increasing student role saw an increase in student nominations.

Outstanding achievers

From 1990-1994 the annual MUSA Sportsperson of the Year award was made to an outstanding sports achiever. From 1995 onwards individual MUSA Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards have been presented. In 1999, the major sponsor Bank of New Zealand introduced a trophy for Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year for both the Palmerston North and Albany campuses.

Outstanding Contribution Awards have been presented since 1991. These awards recognise those who work behind the scenes in areas such as coaching, fundraising or provision of administrative support to club sports, cultural activities or international clubs and societies.

With the diverse range of excellence in the world of the arts and design, 1997 saw the first Cultural Award presented, in addition to the sporting Blues.

The University values the event and genuinely wishes to honour the individual achievers. Students nominated must excel in their chosen sport or cultural pursuit, as well as their academic studies. A huge commitment and discipline are required to be a Blues Award recipient, as students must successfully juggle the often-weighty workloads of university study with heavy training and performance schedules.

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