Zena Gay hailed from Nelson. In 1946 Gay became the President of the New Zealand Women’s Indoor Basketball Association, only one year after the Association’s inception. She continued this role through to 1972 when it merged with the New Zealand Men’s Basketball Association. She was the inaugural Vice President of the newly formed New Zealand Basketball Federation and served a further six years on the executive committee.
Gay managed the 1958, 1960 and 1964 New Zealand Women’s Basketball teams. In 1970 she received the British Empire Medal for services to community, especially for her devotion to Women’s Indoor Basketball. Her contribution to women’s basketball is also recognised through the Basketball New Zealand award that is named after her – the Zena Gay Memorial Award for notable contribution to women’s basketball. Zena was inducted into the Basketball New Zealand Hall of Fame in 2016.
The award was accepted on her behalf by her son Mike Gay.
Sir Lance Cross was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016 for his contribution to basketball and is also the name behind one of Basketball New Zealand’s longest standing awards – the Sir Lance Cross Award for exceptional services to basketball.
Sir Cross started his basketball career in 1931 while working for the YMCA, and by 1933 was the YMCA’s physical education director. From 1936 to 1939 he was a physical education specialist at Hamilton Technical School. He represented New Zealand and was president of the New Zealand Men’s Basketball Association from its foundation in 1946 until 1971. He was also coach of the national team and he served as a Vice President of the International Amateur Basketball Federation.
From 1939 Sir Cross worked as a physical welfare officer for the Department of Internal Affairs, initially in Palmerston North and then later in Wellington. In this capacity he helped to lay down the principles of physical education in schools, inculcating in New Zealand youth the worth of star-jumps, press-ups and other forms of activity on wintry school mornings.
During the Second World War he spent three years as a physical education and recreational training officer, first in the Air Training Corps and then in the Royal New Zealand Air Force. He was Chairman of the New Zealand Olympic Committee, and was also Head of Sports Broadcasting for the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation.
In 1969, he became a member of the New Zealand’s International Olympic Committee, a position he held for 20 years. Sir Cross was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, for services to sports administration, in the 1973 New Year Honours. He was promoted to Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1977 New Year Honours, for services to sport as a member of the International Olympic Committee and Chairman of the New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association. He was appointed a Knight Bachelor for services to sport in the 1984 Queen's Birthday Honours.
The award was accepted on Sir Cross’ behalf by his daughter Pamela Meekings-Stewart.
Stan Hill was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year for his contribution as a Player.
Hill played basketball for New Zealand for 14 years, nine of them as captain. A high point of his long career was leading New Zealand to a historic victory over Australia in 1978 under the direction of Coach Steve McKean.
Hill played in New Zealand for several provincial and franchise teams, helping each to become national title contenders, and he also played successfully in the United States for San José State and in England. He was offered a chance to play in the American NBA, but opted for a club in England instead. Hill later turned to coaching, including being assistant coach of the national team.
Carolyn Grey was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year for her contribution as a Player. She played for New Zealand from 1977 to 1978, then 1980 to 1983, and again in 1985 when she was team Captain.
Grey was awarded the Zena Gay Award in 1996 for her notable contribution to women’s basketball. Her representative basketball career spans more than 30 years and she was still playing in the Women’s Basketball Championships for Waikato in 2012. Caroline is still actively involved in coaching basketball through her role as Director of Sports at Hamilton Girls High School.
This award is presented to someone who has previously been inducted into the Hall of Fame and has achieved ‘legend’ status.
Anita Hannen began her basketball career in 1946 in Nelson. As a young girl, she was selected in the Nelson team that would go on to compete at the 1946 National Outdoor Basketball Championships. This would be the beginning of a distinguished career that included many milestones.
She went on to represent New Zealand over a 10 year period from 1950 through until 1961. Anita was a member of the first New Zealand women’s team to tour Australia in 1958. The team played 13 games over a three-week period, winning 11 of those. They recorded three test wins over Australia, playing games in Melbourne, Hobart and Adelaide.
Hannen represented three associations. She began in Nelson where she played most of her junior basketball before moving to the West Coast in 1958. That year, Hannen was part of the West Coast team that competed at their first National Championship. The team went on to win the National ‘B’ Championship. Three years later, in 1961, Hannen would again lead the West Coast team to success, this time winning the National ‘A’ Reserve Championship.
In 1963, Hannen moved to Dunedin where she still played the game, however more and more of her time was dedicated to her four young children. Hannen and the family then moved back to Nelson in 1967 and after playing just the one game, she was convinced her playing days were up.
Hannen is a member of the Basketball New Zealand Hall of Fame and one of our most iconic female players.