Stalwart of tennis in Auckland and New Zealand, Dick Garrett, has been named as the recipient of the Sir Eion and Jan, Lady Edgar Lifetime Achievement Award at the New Zealand Sport & Recreation Awards, hosted by Sport NZ, held in Hamilton last night.
Originally from Te Teko, Whakatane, Dick grew up in Auckland where at the age of 15 he picked up a racquet for the first time, starting his journey with the game of tennis.
In 1972 he played doubles in his first Māori Tennis Tournament, with rugby mate Mackie Herewini. By the age of 22, he was president of the Kiwi Tennis Club, and he later spent 36 years as President of the Mangere Central Tennis Club. He became President of Aotearoa Māori Tennis Association in 1997 and President of Tennis Auckland in 2006.
Through his work with Aotearoa Māori Tennis Association, he organised groups of players to play in the Queensland Seniors Tournament for ten years. In 2013 he was also instrumental in Ruia Morrison’s return to Wimbledon, where together with a group of supporters, Ruia was inducted to the ‘Last 8 Club’.
He holds various national titles and has represented NZ Seniors in two World championships.
He has also been instrumental in compiling the history of Māori Tennis in the book “A history of Māori Tennis, He Hītori o te Tēnehi Māori” spanning 1890 to 2006. For the past nine years, he has been collating history and memorabilia from Ruia Morrison for her upcoming book.
Fast forward to current times in which this individual is a valued member across various committees – including Manukau Rovers Rugby Football Club, Tu Toa Charitable Trust and Counties Manukau Sport Foundation,
Dick has carried on the legacy of Albie Pryor, who started Te Tohu Tākaro o Aotearoa in 1991 with the first Aotearoa Māori Awards being at Tūrangawaewae Marae under the mantel of the Kingitanga and Patron Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu.
As CEO of Te Tohu Taakaro o Aotearoa Charitable Trust since 2002, he has fiercely held on to Albie’s vision, while establishing other initiatives under that umbrella.
For the past 40 years, he has been a staunch advocate for Māori Sports and Māori athletes, freely giving his time and expertise in ensuring their cultural identity is upheld and valued.
Let’s also not forget his love of rugby, playing through five decades of seniors rugby in Auckland and representing Auckland Māori.
He is a life member of Mangere Central Tennis Club, Manukau Rovers Rugby Football Club and the Aotearoa Māori Tennis Association.