Top honour for rowing coach Dick Tonks
One of Rowing New Zealand’s most successful coaches is to receive an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Waikato. Richard ‘Dick’ Tonks, MNZM, will receive his Honorary Doctorate at the University graduation ceremony at Claudelands, Hamilton on 15 April.
Tonks has coached New Zealand rowing crews at the five Olympic Games and has been hugely influential on some of our best rowers over a number of decades, including Philippa Baker, Brenda Lawson, Rob Waddell, Hamish Bond, Eric Murray, Mahe Drysdale, and Caroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell.
Tonks has won five Halberg Coach of the year awards and was also named FISA's world rowing coach of the year in 2005, 2010 and 2012.
Rowers under his guidance have won around 30 Olympic and World Championship medals since 2004.
An Honorary Doctorate is the University’s most prestigious honour and University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley says it is in recognition of Mr Tonks’ substantial and ongoing contribution to rowing at the high performance level.
Tonks was born in Whanganui and as a rower, won a silver medal at the 1972 Olympics in Munich in the coxless four.
In the 2003 New Year Honours he was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to rowing.