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New Zone Aims for Netball to be the Sport of Choice

New Zone Aims for Netball to be the Sport of Choice

The new Netball Central Zone celebrated the beginning of a new era for regional netball at a Grand Launch on Sunday. The event, which took place at the Hotel Coachman in Palmerston North, featured the introduction of the zone’s inaugural U23 team and unveiled both the U23 uniform and new zone logo.

Netball Central, which covers the majority of the lower North Island, stretches from Hawke’s Bay in the east, Taranaki in the west, Wellington in the south and has Manawatu at its centre. Netball Central is one of five new zones recently created by Netball New Zealand as part of a new structure for the game in this country, designed to align the grassroots game with the five professional netball franchises. The new zone includes almost a quarter of New Zealand’s population, with a netball player base of more than 40,000.

Netball Central and Haier Pulse Chief Executive Officer Chris Hooper, talking to a packed room of netball representatives from around the zone, explained his belief that Central Netball will play a vital role in contributing to Netball New Zealand’s goal that ‘every child in New Zealand will be exposed to netball by 2020’. “Netball is a fantastic game, it’s fantastic to watch and it’s fantastic for young people to develop their skills, not only on the court, but off the court as well,” he said.

“As well as developing fitness, agility and skills, playing a team sport is a great discipline, a great social opportunity and it is also a great platform for young people to benefit from learning leadership and team work. I see the incredible level of support netball gets from the whole community, it’s a fantastic product and one that the whole family can be part of.

“Our key core value is that netball is the ‘sport of choice’, and our new logo depicts netball at the heart of the zone’s community. Not only is it bringing together the four lead netball centres (Netball Taranaki, Hawke’s Bay Netball, Netball Horizons and Netball Wellington) and the Haier Pulse, but it also demonstrates the importance of the netball community for our families, from the activity undertaken courtside to the action at all levels on-court,” he explained. “To emphasise this, we have chosen ‘Poitarawhiti kit e Ngakau’ as our māori name for the zone.”

“At grassroots level, the zone is managed by a combination of lead centres acting as a conduit for zone activity and communications, whilst providing services to clusters of smaller partner centres. In some cases, larger centres work alongside each other to share the lead in some of the key deliverables and development areas.”

“We now have a nucleus of our zone team in place to help the lead centres with their goals: Liz Page (Community Netball Manager), Kelly Curr (High Performance Manager) and Jo Holmes (Haier Pulse Team and Operations Manager), with the assistance of Lenore Anderson who provides financial and administrative support,” he said.

Netball New Zealand and Netball Manawatu Life Member, Betty Steffensen has seen many changes during her legendary 60+ years of involvement with netball. “I started playing for Manawatu in 1951, so I have seen everything. I worked with Miss (Catherine) Vautier, who started the Manawatu Netball Association in 1928, and was one of the original members of the New Zealand Board. The history goes back quite a long time, but to me this is an exciting time for the sport,” she explained.

“To see the netball in this region going forward as Netball Central, with the centres all working together, can only be positive. A day like this is amazing, having all the regions represented and all the various people from within those regions: coaches, managers, administrators and players.”

Netball Central also introduced its inaugural U23 squad and uniform. The U23 uniform is Blue, Black, White, Yellow and Green and incorporates the colours of the region: Blue (Whanganui), Black and White (Hawke’s Bay), Black and Yellow (Taranaki and Wellington) and Green (Manawatu).

2013 Netball Central U23 Team

Stacey McFeeters*

Laura-Meg McGlone

Whitney Cassidy

Jenna O’Sullivan

Te Amo Amaru-Tibble*

Rhiarna Ferris
Hawke’s Bay

Sheridan Bignall

Renee Matoe

Bianca Lloyd-Jones

Olivia Dunn

Nicola Mackle

Amber Bellringer

Player has been selected in accordance with the NNZ Under-23 player exemption rule

The Netball Central website will go live from Friday, 24 May.


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