A successful season for Netball Central was highlighted at the 2019 New Zealand Netball Awards when several of the Zone’s players, coaches and umpires received the sport’s top accolades.
The awards recognised the country’s top talent from all aspects of the sport from grassroots through to international level.
The stunning form of Ameliaranne Ekenasio during New Zealand’s triumphant run to the World Cup title was acknowledged when the sharp shooter picked up the Silver Ferns Player of the Year, decided by votes from members of the Silver Ferns squad for the player who best demonstrated the team’s values both on and off the court.
In a year to savour, Ekenasio also took out the People’s Choice category which was decided by the public, with thousands of votes being cast.
``The shift that has happened for me this year encompasses so many different things both on and off court,’’ she said.
``The Silver Ferns team culture has been one of the major things that has helped us succeed, we enjoy each other’s company and that means you will do anything for each other. We never want to stay the same and it’s always about striving to be better than we were previously.’’
Netball Central were well represented in the coaching ranks where Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie was named ANZ Premiership Coach of the Year after guiding the Pulse to a maiden title in 2019.
``You spend a lot of time thinking you’re chasing a cup, but really at the end of the day you’re wanting to grow good people and better people for the game. So, it was great to raise the cup, and certainly there’s a whole lot of work that goes into that, but I think the background to it was the people around us,’’ McCausland-Durie said.
``Our families, a huge amount of support from Netball Central and a really committed group of athletes counted for plenty.’’
At the helm for Central Manawa’s third successive title, Pelesa Semu, who will step up to the assistant coach role with the Pulse next season, took out National Coach of the Year.
``I am surrounded by some really great people in our Zone, so I’m very lucky,’’ Semu said.
``It’s a real passion coaching the next generation and I really enjoy working with young people and helping with their development.’’
After relocating from Australia earlier this year and making Wellington his home, Central’s Josh Bowring won the ANZ Premiership Umpire of the Year award.
In the Officials category, Netball Manawatu’s Lisa Aull received the Outstanding Contribution to Netball by a Technical Official award.
Volunteers from the Zone were also recognised with Volunteer Official of the Year being awarded to Netball Wellington’s Sonia Kupuri and Community Volunteer Community Champion of the Year to Parengaio Huhu of Netball Taranaki.
2019 NETBALL NEW ZEALAND AWARD WINNERS
Dame Lois Muir Supreme Award
MYOB Silver Ferns Player of the Year
Ameliaranne Ekenasio (Netball Central)
More FM People’s Choice
Ameliaranne Ekenasio (Netball Central)
Sky Sport Moment of the Year
Silver Ferns Netball World Cup victory
ANZ Premiership Player of the Year
ANZ Premiership Coach of the Year
Yvette McCausland-Durie (Netball Central)
ANZ Premiership Umpire of the Year
Special K Aspiring Silver Fern
Beko Netball League Player of the Year
NZ Police Secondary Schools Player of the Year
Barfoot & Thompson National Coach of Year
Pelesa Semu (Netball Central)
GJ Gardner National Umpire of the Year
Outstanding Contribution to Netball by a Technical Official
Lisa Aull (Netball Manawatu)
Contribution to NZ Netball Players Association, supported by Puma
CADBURY VOLUNTEER AWARDS
Cadbury Volunteer Coach of the Year
Cadbury Volunteer Official of the Year
Sonia Kupuri (Netball Wellington)
Cadbury Volunteer Administrator of the Year
Cadbury Youth Volunteer of the Year
Cadbury Community Volunteer Community Champion of the Year
Parengaio Huhu (Netball Taranaki)
Photo: Courtesy Michael Bradley Photography