Blues Awards

Congratulations to our 2023 Blues winners!

Ka pai to our 164 students who received a Blues award in 2023! See the full list of recipients, including the major award winners.

What are Blues Awards?

The Blues Awards are part of a tradition from England. The blue colours of Oxford and Cambridge Universities came to symbolise sporting excellence.

At Waipapa Taumata Rau | the University of Auckland, the Blues recognise and honour students who have performed at the highest level. A Blues winner is recognised as excelling in their chosen endeavour, achieving success at a national or international level or making a significant impact on their community.

Categories of the award
Arts and Cultural
Service and Leadership

Nomination process and criteria


Nomination process

  • The University of Auckland Blues Selection Panel will review nominations and nominees will be notified of the outcome in early September. Successful nominees will be invited to the Blues evening in early October. 
  • Students may self-nominate or be nominated by someone else. Self-nomination applications must include a written reference from a suitable referee.

Nomination criteria

  • Nominations are for extra-curricular and co-curricular activities only. Activities which will contribute to the achievement of course credit should not be included in the nomination.
  • Nominees who have previously received a Blues Award will have to demonstrate they have improved on their previous achievement or contribution to be considered for another Blues Award.
  • Nominees must have maintained good academic standing.
  • Nominees must have been enrolled in the University at the time of the activities for
    which the nomination is based, although they may have graduated since then.
  • All nominations should be based upon activities completed between 1 August 2022 and 31 July 2023.

Nominations will be assessed against the following criteria for each award:

Sports Blue

Successful nominees will have represented their country at a senior or age group level in a sport recognised by the national sporting body (for example Sport NZ and/or a sport which has a national sporting body). Nominees may also have competed for a franchise team in a national or international tournament (for example the Mystics, Blues or Warriors etc). Nominees may also be considered for achieving success in nationally significant events. The Evaluation Panel will consider the significance of the event and the quality of the competition (for example top three placing in the Coast to Coast event or a top three placing in the elite field of the Round Taupo cycle challenge).

Arts and Cultural Blue

Successful nominees will have achieved external success in their chosen field which may include (but is not limited to) dance, dramatic and cultural performance, artworks, architecture, design, film or media, writing, music, song, debating or oration. 

Blues in Arts and Cultural are awarded for achievements at an international or national level. The committee will consider the significance of the event and the quality of the competition.

Service and Leadership Blue

Activities should be for those undertaken on a voluntary basis and have received no payment or stipend.

In assessing nominations, the panel will consider the following criteria:

Contribution and impact

  • How the student has demonstrated a significant contribution to their community- either at a local, regional, national or international level. 
  • The value and benefit of their contributions at these levels.
  • Demonstrate leadership and initiative in setting direction, supporting others and bringing about change.

Leadership and initiative

  • The student’s involvement in setting the direction of a group, organisation or cause in which they are involved.
  • How far they have taken the lead in a project or area of work which is complex in nature to achieve a positive outcome for their organisation or peers.
  • Their efforts to support, mentor, train or encourage others.
  • Their ability to identify recurring problems and take steps to minimise or eliminate them. 

Club and student association executives are not normally expected to receive a Blue for their contribution in such roles. Blues will only be awarded to club and student association executives in exceptional circumstances and will require clear and strong evidence that they have achieved at a very high level and well beyond the normal requirements of the role.

Innovation Blue

In assessing nominations, the panel will consider the following criteria:

Outstanding achievement in innovation that has created or enhanced a product, process or system which provides an effective solution to a challenging issue. This may be in a social, environmental, technological or commercial context. Nominations will have either:

  • Demonstrated excellence through practical application of an innovative solution with a letter of support from a leader in a related field. (The committee will consider the challenge of the issue, how it has been applied and/or validated and how it operates in a competitive space) 
  • Won or placed in a competition focused on applied knowledge or professional skills at a national or international level. The competition can be individual or team based.  (The committee will consider the significance of the event and the quality of the competition)

Major Awards

From all nominations, the panel will select individuals for Major Awards. The categories are:

Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Award

Māori Major Award

Pasifika Major Award

Para-athlete Sportsperson of the Year Award

Award for the Most Meritorious Performance (Sport)

Award for the Most Meritorious Performance (Arts and Cultural)

Award for the most outstanding contribution (Service and Leadership)

Award for the Most Meritorious Innovation (Innovation) 

Contact details

For questions about the Blues Awards, email