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Netballers recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours

When it comes to Netball, former Silver Fern Tracey Fear has set high standards across all facets of the game.

Her drive and passion for the sport have been to the forefront for over 30 years – whether it was her rangy and athletic figure snaffling intercepts as one of the best defenders in her era, or using her analytical mind in coaching, high performance and administration.

Fear has left a lasting impression for her adopted country.

Her achievements and dedication were recognised this weekend when she was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to netball.

She was one of two Netballers to receive recognition in the Queen’s Birthday Honours with North Harbours’s Elaine Utting awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for her work with North Harbour Netball and the community.

Fear was born in Canberra but moved to New Zealand as a teenager where her rise in the game went all the way to the top.

Eight years after arriving in the country, the in-circle defender was named as a Silver Fern (1982) and she went on to form one of the most formidable defensive walls alongside Waimarama Taumaunu. She played in two Netball World Cups (1983 and 1987) – her highlight the victory in Scotland in 1987.

Fear brought new impetus to the previously unglamorous position of goal keeper thanks to her fitness, athleticism and dedication.

Due to her outstanding on-court performances Fear became an instantly recognisable figure across New Zealand. She was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 1996, alongside her all-conquering 1987 team-mates.

The accolades continued when Fear was selected in NNZ’s Team of the Century in 1999, acknowledging her influence on the game as a player.

What followed off the court has been just as significant. Fear hung up her playing bib in 1988 and turned to coaching where she made a considerable contribution at all levels.

But it is in administration and the high performance side of Netball where Fear has made her biggest impact.

Her term as High Performance Director for NNZ saw her preside over one of New Zealand’s most successful 12-year period in high performance history – including a Netball World Cup win and two Commonwealth Games gold medals along with a Netball World Youth Cup title.

Fear’s fierce loyalty to the game has been a driving force in promoting women’s sport in New Zealand, gaining her admiration and respect both in this country and beyond.

■ Meanwhile, Utting was one of 192 New Zealanders recognised this Queen’s Birthday as having made outstanding contributions to their respective fields.

As a teenager, she moved with her family to the North Shore in Auckland in what marked the start of more than 60 years association with Netball North Harbour.

Utting has been involved as a coach, umpire, treasurer and president, and during the 1970s she was in charge of organising the North Shore primary school netball competitions.

Her love of the game has showed no signs of slowing as she turns up to the courts every Saturday to cheer for her old club, Shore Rovers.