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In Remembrance: Georgina Salter (nee Hapuku)

The netball community is mourning the loss of Otago stalwart Georgina Salter who passed away peacefully in the early hours of November 29th.

Georgie, as she was commonly known, left a lasting imprint on netball through a long and fruitful career both as a player and a coach.

A regular in the Otago representative team (1969-74 and 1976-78), Georgie reached the pinnacle of her playing career when becoming Silver Fern #58 in 1974. She made her debut against Singapore the same year while also being part of the Silver Ferns unbeaten tour of England.

Able to cover centre and wing attack as well as goal attack, Georgie was tall for a midcourter, her uninhibited style providing natural flair and creativity. An astute reader of the game, Georgie was a gifted attacker with a spontaneous nature which also made her a dangerous opportunist with strong all-round abilities.

Georgie was re-selected the following year for the fourth World Tournament staged in Auckland where she became the first choice starting wing attack.

When her playing days were over, Georgie moved into the coaching ranks where she continued to have an influence. Popular and personable, Georgie remained deeply imbedded with Otago netball, having a long stint (1991-2000 and 2008) as Otago NPC head coach. 1998 proved a golden year with Georgie at the helm when Otago were outright NPC winners for the first time in 66 years while the Otago Rebels were also crowned Coca-Cola Cup champions.

As netball headed towards the semi-professional era, Georgie guided the Otago Rebels to 19 wins from 21 outings during the 1988 and 89 seasons. She also had a stint, as head coach, with the Auckland Diamonds during the National Bank Cup in 2001-2002.

Georgie was head coach of the NZU21s in 1999 and 2000, guiding the New Zealand team to third place at the Netball World Youth Cup in Wales in 2000.

With a lifelong passion for developing New Zealand’s budding young talent, Georgie returned to frontline coaching when assuming the head coach role for the South Beko Netball League team in 2017 and 2018.

A natural people person, Georgie was an animated and tireless advocate throughout her life in helping nurture the younger generation, her influence in netball playing a key role. Fun and engaging, Georgie has left an indelible mark on netball through her selfless commitment as an inventive player and coach.

Following a short illness, Georgie has a left a legion of friends and admirers across netball, and the wider community in general, all too soon, at just 67.