Sport New Zealand’s Big Wins campaign highlights that winning can look like giving back – to their sport, school, club or community. Giving back can further develop a young person through providing them with leadership skills and can provide other young people with an opportunity to participate in sport.

For school sport to operate and provide meaningful sporting experiences for its young people, it relies on a a lot of  volunteers to provide these opportunities.

We caught up with Ben Mclauchlan from Cashmere High School. Ben was the Category 2 Winner at the Zonta Awards. Category 2 recognises those students who contribute to sports administration.

Bens Achievements

Ben has an impressive resume, having been nominated for refereeing in multiple sporting codes – Rugby, Basketball & Touch.

In 2023, Ben was selected for the 2023 Canterbury Rugby Referees Academy Squad, refereed 60+ rugby games across the season, refereed at the Regional U18 Girls Cup held in Ashburton, appointed to Premier Reserve games, selected by New Zealand Rugby to referee at the U16 South Island competition, plus more outstanding achievements during the rugby season.

In 2022 he was the Canterbury Basketball Junior Referee of the Year, selected to referee at the BBNZ U19 Nationals, selected to referee at the BBNZ Tertiary Nationals, plus more selections across both the youth and senior basketball competitions

But the list does not end there.

When he is not busy with rugby and basketball, you will find him refereeing at local touch modules across Christchurch. Ben was selected for the Touch New Zealand Secondary Schools Nationals, selected for the Touch New Zealand Youth Nationals and selected for the Touch New Zealand Opens / Masters Nationals. He has also been selected to referee playoff games throughout these tournaments. To top it off, Ben was also named in the Touch New Zealand National Referees Development Squad.

Q&A with Ben 

What motivates you to be referee across so many different sports codes?

I think what motivates me to be a referee across multiple different codes is not only that I enjoy it, but also the opportunities it gives you to travel around the country and the world for different events. As well as this, it also allows you to meet so many new people and create many friendships with people from all over the country,

How did you refereeing journey begin?

I first stared refereeing basketball back in 2018 at Pioneer Basketball whilst still playing in the competition myself. I then moved into refereeing touch and rugby throughout 2018 and 2019 after sustaining an injury.

What has been a highlight for you in refereeing thus far?

Two of the biggest highlights for me are recently getting selected to referee at the Touch World Cup in 2024 over in England, as well as refereeing the U21 Colts final for rugby in Canterbury during 2023.

How do you balance school life with the demands of you refereeing?

Balancing refereeing with school isn’t normally too bas as most games occur during the weekends and afterschool. However, many of the tournaments do fall in school time, so as I started to do more and more of these I did have to make sure most of the work was done before I went away or done quickly afterwards

What advice would you give to any young person at the start of their refereeing journey or young person thinking about becoming a referee?

My advice would be for people to just give it a go and see where it takes them. It’s a great way to meet new people, travel around the country and sometimes earn a but of pocket money while you do something you enjoy. Even if you decide to give up playing due to injury or any other reasons, these people often make some of the best referees.

What does it mean to you to represent your school as a student referee?

It’s certainly awesome to be able represent your school at a tournament and go away with their teams for different events. We were fortunate at Cashmere to have a large group of referees come through the school over the past seven or eight years.