Our Game

Our history, our heroes and more about our game – Netball.

History

Netball is an integral part of New Zealand’s dynamic sporting culture. Steeped in history, it was introduced to New Zealand as ‘women’s basketball’ in 1906 – a nine-a-side game played on grass, with baskets tied to posts at either end of the court.

1990

Australia wins the demonstration game between New Zealand and Australia at the Commonwealth Games held in Auckland. Milo World Series held with New Zealand beating Jamaica. NZ Netball Association head office moves from Wellington to Auckland.

1991

NZ Netball Association changes its name to Netball New Zealand and adopts a new logo to symbolise the game and the silver fern. At the 8th World Championships held in Sydney, Australia beats New Zealand 53-52 in a Final widely regarded as one of the greatest matches in Netball history.

1992

Netball Awareness week launched for first time. New Zealand Championships replaces New Zealand Tournament. Milo World Series tour by Trinidad & Tobago – New Zealand wins Test Series 3-0. New Zealand under-21 team wins New Zealand’s first World Youth Championships title in Fiji, beating Australia 44-40 in the final. New Zealand team tours England and Ireland unbeaten. In June New Zealand travels to Australia for a three-test series, but lose the series 3-nil. Leigh Gibbs becomes New Zealand coach.

1994

Australia tours New Zealand for the Milo World Series, playing Silver Ferns and two Milo Invitational sides made up of New Zealand squad and young international players. Silver Ferns tour Jamaica and win the Test Series, 3-0. South Africa tours New Zealand after 20 years absence from international competition. England and Western Samoa tour New Zealand for Milo Series, won by New Zealand.

1995

Ninth World Championships held in Birmingham, England. South Africa causes an upset when they beat New Zealand for the first time ever, in pool play. New Zealand goes on to lose narrowly to Australia to miss out on the final, in which Australia defeats South Africa.

1996

“Shooting for Success” adopted as Netball New Zealand’s strategic plan. Fisher & Paykel Appliances becomes the major sponsor of NNZ & the Silver Ferns. Silver Ferns beat South Africa 3-0. The introduction of the Fisher & Paykel Cup for annual trans-Tasman clashes. The first match, played in Sydney, was won by Australia, 60-51.

1997

Silver Ferns beat Jamaica in three-Test Series and win against Cook Islands side. Silver Ferns win Fisher & Paykel Cup match against Australia at Mystery Creek, Hamilton. Silver Ferns tour England, with a clean sweep of the three-Test Series and one-off Tests against Wales and Malaysia.

1998

Netball New Zealand launches its ambitious “Future Directions” strategy. 33 Unions become 12 Regional Entities and 110 Associations become Netball Centres. The 12 Regions are Northern, Auckland, Counties Manukau, Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Eastern, Western, Wellington, Tasman, Canterbury, Otago and Southern. Coca-Cola Cup is revamped from a club competition to an elite regional event with 10 unique identities. Otago Rebels beat Southern Sting to win the first franchise-based competition. Australia beat Silver Ferns in three-Test Series to retain the Fisher & Paykel Cup. Netball is included as a Commonwealth Games medal sport for the first time in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Silver Ferns win the silver medal after losing to Australia in the Final.

1999

The 75th Netball New Zealand anniversary celebrations are held. The New Zealand Dream Team is announced: Margharet Matenga GS; Joan Harnett-Kindley GA; Rita Fatialofa WA; Sandra Edge C; Lyn Gunson WD; Yvonne Willering GD; Tracey Fear GK. New Zealand hosts the 10th World Championships in Christchurch. The Silver Ferns suffer a one-goal loss to Australia in an epic Final. The match, televised on TV2, was the broadcaster’s highest rating programme ever at the time. New Board structure is introduced, including role of Chief Executive. Shelley McMeeken is appointed and fills the role for seven years. Ascot Park Hotel Southern Sting win the Coca-Cola Cup.