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.
Silver Ferns win Commonwealth Games Gold, in Delhi defeating Australia in the Gold Medal Match. Silver Ferns win back-to-back titles at the Netball World Series (FASTNET) in Liverpool beating England in the final.
Silver Ferns win the silver medal at the World Netball Championships in Singapore, beaten by Australia in the final. Waimarama Taumaunu is announced as new Silver Ferns coach following the departure of Ruth Aitken, becoming just the ninth coach of the national team since 1938.
Netball New Zealand restructures and creates five Netball Zones throughout the country to administer, promote and develop the game at both an elite and community level. New clothing sponsor Canterbury of New Zealand announces a three-year deal with Netball New Zealand. Silver Ferns win the inaugural ‘Quad Series’ competition between New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and England played in both Australia and New Zealand. Silver Ferns win the New World Netball Series for the Constellation Cup for the first time. Kia Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic wins the ANZ Championship – the first New Zealand team to do so.
Chief Executive Raelene Castle announces her resignation to take up a job in Sydney as Chief Executive for NRL club Canterbury Bulldogs. New NNZ Chief Executive Hilary Poole starts. Pita Pit, House of Travel and Trilogy join the family of sponsors at Netball New Zealand. NZU21 team win the World Youth Netball Championships in Scotland defeating Australia in the final. FAST5 Ferns win back to back FAST5 Netball World Series titles at Auckland’s Vector Arena. NNZ undertakes a nationwide review of the Junior Netball Programme.
NNZ Chief Executive Hilary Poole begins the process to develop the Whole of Netball plan, a plan that will provide the strategic direction for the Whole of Netball in New Zealand. Silver Ferns legendary shooter Irene van Dyk retired from the Silver Ferns prior the Commonwealth Games. The Silver Ferns won silver at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. The FAST5 Ferns win the FAST5 Netball World Series for the third year in a row. Netball New Zealand Board Chair Raewyn Lovett’s completed her 9 year tenure on the Board and was replaced with John Bongard and NNZ President Sheryl Lady Wells completed her four year term as NNZ President.
The Whole of Netball Plan was launched incorporating the four key pillars of the plan for the sport going forward to Grow, Win, Connect and Sustain. Netball New Zealand Board Chair John Bongard was reappointed to the NNZ Board for a further three years continuing in his role as Chair. Beverley Douglas was elected as the new Netball New Zealand President, and NNZ Life Member Dawn Jones was awarded the Halberg Life Time Achievement award. The Silver Ferns under the leadership of head coach Waimarama Taumaunu and assistant coach Vicki Wilson won silver at the Netball World Cup in Sydney. Taumaunu and Wilson also both finished in their Silver Fern management roles later in 2015. In November, long time Silver Ferns captain Casey Kopua announced her unavailability for the Silver Ferns in 2016 after confirming her first pregnancy. In November Netball New Zealand held the inaugural NZ Netball Awards hosted at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. In December Janine Southby began her new role as Silver Ferns head coach.
2016 saw the launch of the new Beko Netball League, the amateur competition that sits underneath the ANZ Championship with its key purpose to provide a platform for the next tier of athletes, coaches and management to gain the week in week out experience through the league. This has proved to be a year of change in Netball with the conclusion of the ANZ Championship, with both NZ and Australia opting to create separate National competitions in 2017. New Zealand has added a sixth NZ team to be based in greater Auckland (Northern Stars) to add a further dynamic to the 2017 ANZ Premiership. NNZ confirmed it will also host an International Component that will follow the new NZ League with further details to be confirmed. Hilary Poole resigned in her role as Chief Executive to move into more governance roles, with Jennie Wyllie taking on the role.
A new era of elite level domestic competition was unveiled in 2017 with the inaugural edition of the ANZ Premiership. The return, after nine years of participating in a trans-Tasman competition, to a unique standalone domestic showpiece heralded the emerging depth of young talent in New Zealand. It also introduced new entity, the Northern Stars, based out of South Auckland, and started from scratch specifically for the new six-team competition. The individual highlight of 2017 was the success of the NZU21 team in winning the Netball World Youth Cup in Botswana, the first time New Zealand had won back-to-back titles at this level. Involving New Zealand’s top three teams and five other club sides from around the world, the successful launch of Netball Super Club was heralded in 2017. The Netball community and beyond were deeply saddened at the sudden passing of former Silver Fern Tania Dalton at just 45. Netball also mourned the passing of two other inspiring figures during the year, Joyce McCann and Shirley Annan. Captain Katrina Grant joined a select group when she became just the seventh Silver Fern to reach the 100-Test milestone.
A run of disappointing results for the Silver Ferns, including a fourth-place finish at the Commonwealth Games and a drop to third in the world rankings, prompted the launch of an extensive independent review. The depth of feedback provided by the review highlighted key recommendations from the review panel which NNZ embraced. The NZA programme was re-established, a world-class high performance campaign plan was instigated and former Silver Ferns captain Bernice Mene was welcomed to the NNZ Board. Noeline Taurua was appointed the 11th coach of the Silver Ferns while Laura Langman assumed the captaincy. Playing her 146th Test during the Constellation Cup, Langman became the most capped player in Silver Ferns history. The FAST5 Ferns continued their strong record in the shortened version of the game to secure a seventh Fast5 Netball World Series title. Allison Ferguson was appointed the new NNZ Board Chair when John Bongard completed his tenure after completing his full term of nine years.
Highlighted by the Silver Ferns remarkable turnaround to clinch the World Cup, 2019 was a year to savour. The visionary leadership of head coach Noeline Taurua and her assistant Deb Fuller paid huge dividends, the Silver Ferns embracing the challenge and against all odds, going on to win their first world title in 16 years. Coming out of retirement for one last shot at winning a world title, inspirational defender Casey Kopua retired permanently with her dream achieved. Long-serving shooter Maria Folau reached the 150-test cap milestone in the final match of the drawn end-of-season Constellation Cup series with Australia before also heading into retirement. Captain and midcourt maestro Laura Langman won the Dame Lois Muir Supreme Award for a third time at the NNZ Awards. In an historic moment, women and men played on the same court for the first time during the Cadbury Netball Series, the New Zealand Men’s Invitational team proving an instant hit and the perfect preparation to the Silver Ferns World Cup build-up. The netball community mourned the passing of hugely popular and influential NNZ Life Member Monica Leggat during 2019.