Thursday 23 March saw the ANZ New Zealand Cricket Awards take place in downtown Auckland. The ceremony marked a very special day for the New Zealand Cricket Players Association (NZCPA) with the Bert Sutcliffe Medal for Outstanding Service to Cricket being awarded to NZCPA long-standing chief executive, Heath Mills.
NZ Cricket chair Martin Snedden presented the award and stated in his citation “This is a real, real pleasure for me, and I also stand here for NZC CEO David White as well. For both of us the person that that I'm about to announce is someone who has been so close to us over so many years and has provided so much brilliant service to cricket in New Zealand, and to so many people in this room.”
Snedden highlighted several milestones in Mills’ twenty-two-year tenure at the helm of the CPA including his drive for better facilities, the creation of the personal development programme, the new landmark collective agreement and his appointment as chair of FICA (Federation of Cricketers’ Associations). Snedden described Mills as “a person of absolute high integrity, great balance, and great insight. He is now recognised as the foremost authority on player advocacy in international cricket, and will without doubt be remembered as one of the most influential figures in the history of NZ Cricket.“
The NZCPA board, staff and members wish to congratulate Heath on receiving the Bert Sutcliffe Medal for his outstanding contribution to cricket - we are incredibly proud.
Martin Snedden citation from the ANZ New Zealand Cricket Awards
This is a real, real pleasure for me, and I also stand here for David White as well. For both of us, the person that that I'm about to announce is someone who has been so close to us over so many years and has provided so much brilliant service to cricket in New Zealand, and to so many people in this room.
He was the founder or co-founder of The New Zealand Cricket Players Association in 2001, he's been the chief executive of that association since then, 22 years of magnificent service. I think you're probably starting to guess who it might be now. Heath over that period of time, you have been so influential, in so many different ways within our game, and for the betterment of cricket. I think back to many years ago, your drive for much better match facilities, pitches, training facilities, and how you made sure that over a reasonably short period of time we went from being pretty rubbishy to world class and we've stayed there, in fact world leading.
You led the evolution of the creation of the player development programs, including those programs that are wrapped around their players, not just to look after their cricketing needs, but also their well-being and who they are as people. More recently, you've helped incorporate the female professional and semi-professional players into the game to ensure that the framework which you co-designed reasonably smoothly with us in 2002 has continued to evolve and was able to take in the female players in the game and just be something that I think is the best framework for professional cricketers around the world and a leading point for all sports. You're now not only carrying the load of Chief Executive of the Players Association, but also the Chair of the Board of FICA (Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations). That's how highly you are regarded by your peers around the world. You are a person of absolute high integrity, great balance, and great insight.
We unhesitatingly go to you for guidance when things are tricky, and you invariably help us find good solutions. Ladies and gentlemen, it is my absolute pleasure to ask Heath Mills to come to the stage to receive the Bert Sutcliffe Medal.