Toni Wall (inducted 2018)
Toni Wall has tirelessly dedicated herself to the betterment of Otago Touch starting as a player in the early 90’s to following her children as they started there journey with Otago touch. Coaching and manager when her youngest son, Tyron was coming through the grades from U11s, Toni was part of the team that won the South Island title in 2008 in the U15 boys grade. Gary Tuhoe was also coaching this team. For a number of years Toni was involved in the community organising teams managing, coaching when needed. Toni’s enthusiasm was unprecedented and for this period of time became a critical member of the sport in our region. Toni was never afraid of telling people how it was and what we need to do to achieve a positive outcome. But always the intention was to get the job done. Organisation was high on the priority list for Toni she had the attitude of if needs done I will do it and she dragged the family and friends along with her until they made their own contributions in their own way. Toni joined the Otago Touch Board in 2009.
In 2010 and 2011 Toni managed the Otago U17 boys’ team to 2nd at the South Island IPS and began her role as tour manager for Otago teams. In 2011 she was the manager for our first U17 Mixed team that attended Junior Nationals in Ashurst, Palmerston North. This team placed 2nd and Otago had 8 of the team named in New Zealand teams, as well as a further 7 from the U15 Mixed team. This signalled the start of Otago's road to dominance at New Zealand Junior level.
In the years that followed, Toni continued to have a major role on the Board. She continued to manage U19, U21, Opens and Masters Teams. She took on the daunting task of coaching the Otago 30s Men in 2013-15. She successfully and expertly acted as Tour Manager for our rapidly growing junior teams and she debuted as a Touch New Zealand manager, first with the NZ U17 boys, followed by the U19 Men and then the Touch Blacks.
At New Zealand representative level, Toni has excelled and is held in high esteem. She has managed at a World Cup, gaining a silver medal with the Touch Blacks. She has worked with three separate head coaches, numerous players and officials and has always conducted herself with the highest levels of skill and empathy. She is a born winner!
At grassroots level, she has played, refereed and organised school teams from Balclutha, Concord Primary, Kaikorai Valley College and Otago Girls' High School. Her Pacific Heat team started as a family team but has provided a breeding ground for elite talent and has allowed huge numbers of talented young players to play together and flourish. The team's unprecedented dominance is due in no small fact to Toni's exceptional organisational ability. She is adept in the art of working with people and unites people from all walks of life.
There are so many areas of the game that Toni has contributed that our records do not give justice but we rely on the members that have experience the special lady’s character and contribution.
Alex Buttery (inducted 2020)
"Alex Buttery’s passionate involvement with the sport of Touch began with a refereeing course. In 1999, she attended the TMRC Referee course while teaching at Dunedin’s MacAndrew Intermediate. During this time she also coached two teams for the school.
While doing all of many voluntary roles and, as mentioned, consistently refereeing multiple games on multiple evenings every week, Alex has continued coaching at Intermediate level. She organises the Balmacewan Touch teams, where she works and has done for over a decade, coaching numerous teams. It should be noted that Balmacewan has the most teams participating in the local competition, in her time at the school, of any school in Otago.
However, it is in her role as provincial director of referees where she has had a massively significant impact on the province. Through her recruitment, training, care and support, our group of referees have continued to grow and excel at all levels of the game. She has created a great pathway through the grades for young officials who all respect her hugely, value the comradery of the group she has created and who strive to achieve their own personal excellence. This is a value that Alex has always fostered within the province. She works exceptionally hard to be the best she can be, gives countless hours and support to the betterment of others and is hugely selfless in the giving of her time.
Anyone who knows Alex Buttery knows of her passion for Touch. She still is reffing at all of our provincial modules, at Nationals and IPS events; she is still coaching numerous teams; she is still running the Bishopscourt module, New Zealand Master’s Games Touch in Otago every second year and she is still our Provincial Director of Referees.
Our sport in Otago has grown and we, as a province, have risen to prominence, and owe a huge debt of gratitude to the tireless work Alex has done. Her contribution has been significant, profound and has bettered not only the province as a whole but the innumerable lives she has affected.
Damian Burden (2023)
Damian or Damo as known to many has been involved in touch here in Otago for well over 25 years as a player, coach, selector, mentor, board chair, board member, head selector, HP Panel member and the list goes on. He is the most successful Coach we’ve had here in Otago and the South Island. His list of accolades are huge whether it’s coaching at primary/secondary school level, provincial age groups or the best in NZ at Open grade Damo has done it all.
His passion, enthusiasm, motivation, commitment and love of/for the game is like no other. Some would say he eats, sleeps and drink the Sport of Touch and most would agree there isn’t anyone else like him around that is so heavily involved and passionate. He is one of the main reasons why Otago has been so successful over the years in the Junior and Senior grades – his touch knowledge when it comes to tic and tac is amazing. This isn’t by chance, he puts so much time into analysing the game, countless hours of watching touch from all the Aussie tournaments. He is a role model to so many coaches and players and has helped mould and create amazing players here in Otago.Always approachable to parents and players and other coaches and always praising players and getting them to reach their full potential.
Damian’s extensive coaching resume outside of Otago starts in 2011 with the NZ under 15 mixed. He has coached NZ U17, U19, U21 teams and in 2015 was appointed Touch Blacks Mixed Assistant Coach, continuing in the role to this day. 2019/20 was another big season for Damian and his influence on many players and teams. He wasthe Head Coach of Te Waipounamu, becoming the first PTL National Champions in the women’s grade. This provided a great pathway for Otago touch players.
He is one of the top coaches in the world and prides himself on leading his teams from the front with respect, empathy, commitment and humility. The values he instils in his players and teams are a credit to him and the huge amount of time, effort, planning and love he puts into the game of Touch. A friend and mentor to many, Damian readily supports theathletes and other volunteers in our wonderful community.
Damian is one in a million. Damian’s lifetime engagement in the code is exemplary.
Rodney Johnson (Inducted 2023)
Rodney has been actively involved in many levels of the game for approximately 20 years. Initially becoming involved with his kids, Rodney coached and ran events, trials and modules on the Taieri. At the point of one of our major financial dilemmas in the 2000s, Rodney was approached to help the Board remain solvent and help us through a crippling debt. His expertise in Board management, financial knowledge and business acumen, helped us recover, thrive and excel as an organisation. I do reiterate that we were very close to becoming insolvent and folding as an organisation. Following his addition to the Board, Rodney took the role of Chairperson where he led with skill and expertise for a number of years. Following his departure from the Board, Rodney was an active member of the HP and Operations Panels. He is currently driving the current changes in structure of the panel. It is his intention to step away at the close of the year and life membership would be an incredibly fitting acknowledgement of his exemplary service.
Grant Milne (Inducted 2023)
Grant oversaw the rise of the Province. He excelled in Junior Development, community engagement and connected our province with TouchNZ, overseeing our movement into Junior Nationals for the first time. It is, however, the work that Grant did as a volunteer that makes his nomination as a life member of Otago Touch very appropriate. Grant has a passion for girl's sport and prior to his involvement, voluntarily, at St Hildas, we had no girls teams, except a Kelly Brazier driven Otago Girls, who had attended Nationals. Grant created St Hildas touch! He embedded basic, core knowledge, skills and self-belief. This started a landslide of talent in the girls game that flowed through our rep programme and saw talented players become talented coaches. In 2010, Grant was one of the coaches of our first U21 Women's team to attend Nationals in more than a decade (a team that included teenage Victoria Nafatali, Kelly Brazier, Dayna Turnbull, Holly Johnstone and Naomi Tupai (nee Ireland). Grant has volunteered as a ref, has played to international level as a rep player and has coached as a volunteer to National level with the NZ U15 team. He is an excellent servant of the sport and a hugely deserving life member candidate.
Simon Buttery (2023)
The Butterys held the Association together. Simon (and Life member, Alex) held Chairperson, Treasurer, Secretary and Ref coordinator positions. Simon was a long standing NZ Touch Board member and advocated for Otago at National level through this role. He gained a Black Badge for reffing and officiated to the highest level. Simon's tireless work and passion for our province and service should not be understated.
Tufele Taufa (inducted 2016)
Mark Laws (inducted 2016)
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