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New Director of Sport at Auckland Girls’ Grammar School

Junior Manapori
NZ Men’s Netballer to Face Silver Ferns in Inaugural June Series
New Director of Sport at Auckland Girls’ Grammar School

Junior Manapori’s a milestone man. And he’s hoping to bring a few (milestones, that is) the way of Auckland Girls’ Grammar School.

Manapori’s the new AGGS Director of Sport, into his second term at the school. He’s also a former Davis Cup tennis player, a former basketballer, touch rugby player and part of the current New Zealand men’s netball team which will face the Silver Ferns and Fiji in June.

It’s a busy life. But busy doesn’t faze Manapori, who’s focus at AGGS is – literally – to get things moving.

“Sport is very important to our young women,” he explains. “There is a strategy set up by the Government in terms of building and increasing participation for our young women in sport and that’s dropped in the last couple of years. So one of my roles is to ensure that we increase the participation in sport for young women.

“And how do we do that? Through more activities at school, lunchtime sports, have-a-go days – where the girls can get out and actually try a sport. Then they might actually want to join a team.”

But it’s not just about participation. As an international athlete he’s also focused on improving AGGS’ results at the elite level.

“I’ve given myself a three year plan. We have a vision and a vision statement around what we can do to build that elite side of things,” Manapori says.

“We want to set up sports academies in our major codes first and foremost. Athletics, netball, basketball, rugby – and bringing in specialist coaches, strength and conditioning coaches and trainers to prepare our young women. They haven’t had that here at AGGS – it’s something new – and we’ve already started it with netball where we’re beginning to see the benefits already. “

Of course, on a personal level, Manapori’s got his own netball focus. Next month’s international invitational series against the Silver Ferns is a first and he’s humbled to be a part of the New Zealand Men’s team.

“The June series is momentus for men’s netball. It’s the first time we’ve been invited to take part in a series with our top netball women in New Zealand,” says Manapori.

“I feel very privileged because this has a lot of significance and is something we’ve been working towards for 20 years. Twenty five years, even. So it’s been a long time and this opportunity to play with our women Silver Ferns is awesome. We have a brand of netball – men’s netball – and this will be the coming together of two netball worlds.”

No doubt Manapori’s students at Auckland Girls’ Grammar School will be watching with pride – their new Director of Sport leading by example.

Manapori smiles: “I know what sport has taught me and I just want to help pass those lessons onto the girls at AGGS. I think sport teaches any young person discipline, commitment and the ability to focus and concentrate on something they’re passionate about.”

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