The 55th Halberg Awards are about to kick off tonight in Auckland. Earlier this afternoon Te Karere sports reporter Tamati Rimene-Sproat spoke to Scotty Morrison with insights into the awards and the people who have been nominated.

Scotty: Tamati, the Halbergs is arguably NZ sport’s most prestigious awards night, tell us about the nomination process?

Tamati: Correct. This is the award night of award nights for NZ sports. Athletes are entered into a list, and are nominated by judges in every sport with those in the top echelons of sports voting with only the very best surviving the process. So for those who make it to the shortlisting stage, are really fantastic athletes.

Scotty: Some of our top Māori sports stars have been nominated this year, can you tell us about the finalists?

Tamati: For team of the year, the national softball team and the Black Ferns have both been nominated. Ngāi Tahu’s Holly Robinson has been nominated for para-athlete of the year. Lisa Carrington, Portia Woodman and Sarah Goss have all been nominated for sports woman and team and moment. With all three being nominated for the three same awards there’s very high chances that we’ll see a Māori taking to the stage tonight.

Scotty: As you say big night for our sportswomen, Lisa Carrington, Portia Woodman and Sarah Goss. Who’s your pick for that award?

Tamati: All three of them deserve to be recognised for their efforts in reaching the pinnacle of their respective sports. Lisa Carrington has won the canoeing five times and she’s a machine. But for me it’s between Portia and Lisa. They have normalized women’s rugby, taken the NZ to the pinnacle of the sport all the while being humble and gracious.