Netball is one of the most popular female sports in New Zealand, and West Auckland is no exception. Netball Northern Zone oversees the sport’s development out West and is based at the top-class facilities at Henderson’s The Trusts Arena.
Set up in 2012, Netball Northern Zone stretches from Kaitaia to Waiuku and everywhere in between. Up to 34% of the playing population in New Zealand is covered by the zone.
According to Chief Executive Officer Phil Vyver, Netball Northern Zone’s mission is simple, ‘We are all about getting more people involved in quality netball experiences,’ he says.
Volunteers are at the heart of the netball community. Every season hundreds of volunteers give up their time as umpires, coaches, officials and administrators of local clubs. Phil says that much of Netball Northern Zone’s focus is on supporting and developing these volunteers. ‘We run workshops and programmes throughout the year for our volunteers to grow and strengthen netball throughout the region,’ explains Phil.
Player development is another crucial aspect of Netball Northern Zone's work. Skill development programmes, player development days, competitions and tournaments help players of all abilities to achieve their best.
Furthermore, Phil says the zone is fortunate to have the very successful Northern Mystics team under its umbrella. The Mystics are fantastic role models for enthusiastic young players and regularly get out and about sharing their knowledge and skills with local clubs.
Like most sports clubs and organisations, the last few years have been challenging. Netball courts across the zone lay empty for months on end due to Covid lockdowns and social distancing rules. Participation numbers and revenue were at all-time lows, making it hard to keep going. However, applying to the Your West Support Fund made a crucial difference.
‘The $5,000 funding from the Your West Support Fund came at just the right time,’ says Phil. The organisation used the money to help with operating expenses, including office costs and paying the bills.
Netball is now firmly back on the sporting agenda. The new season will be starting soon and looks set to be bigger and brighter than ever.