It was double delight for New Zealand Cricket at last night’s TP McLean Awards – the annual prize-giving ceremony for the New Zealand Sports Journalists Association.
Former WHITE FERNS captain and sports commentator Lesley Murdoch became the first woman to receive the NZSJA’s Lifetime Award for Outstanding Contribution to Sport through Journalism.
And NZC-contracted journalist Margot Butcher, one the country’s best cricket writers and twice a supreme winner of the TP McLean Awards, became the first woman to be made a life member of the NZSJA.
Mrs Murdoch, who was lured to the Auckland-based Awards night on false pretenses and had no idea what was about to transpire, is a former dual New Zealand international, having also represented her country at hockey.
For the past three decades she has worked as a broadcaster and commentator; the last nine years as an anchor for the Saturday morning sports breakfast show on NewstalkZB in Christchurch.
In 2014 Mrs Murdoch was awarded the International Olympic Committee’s Women in Sport Achievement Diploma, and earlier this year she was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to sport.
Ms Butcher has been covering cricket since the mid-1980s and is regarded as one of New Zealand’s most pre-eminent observers of the game.
She covered the New Zealand team’s tour of India in 1988 – when Sir Richard Hadlee became the highest wicket-taker in history, and was voted the TP McLean Awards supreme winner in both 2004 and 2011.
Ms Butcher, a long-time contributor to Air New Zealand’s Kia Ora magazine, North & South and other periodicals, currently works for NZC as the WHITE FERNS media manager and as a content generator in her specialist area, New Zealand domestic cricket.