During the first week of September, a team of 10 girls from Aparima College headed to Christchurch to compete in the South Island Secondary Schools’ netball tournament. They were lucky to get there as one of their major fundraising efforts fell through, but the community rallied and with support from them and the local rūnaka, the team was back on track.

“Members of the Oraka-Aparima Rūnaka committee were just magic. They were there when we needed them most,” says captain, Devon Winders, who led the team to a high-performing seventh placing out of 32 teams. Devon herself was named in the South Island tournament team.
“We had no expectations of support from the rūnaka committee when we reached out for assistance.

We had been let down at the eleventh hour so the committee had very little notice”.

The team was blown away when the rūnaka stepped forward to help with valuable financial support to supplement the fundraising the girls had already done.

The team was laden with young talent, with six of the ten girls under 16 playing against teams from much larger schools that were fielding teams of 17 and 18-year-olds. Rachel Dawson and Leah Thompson anchored the defence end, tearing into the opposition to bring their team through to win the first pool and end in the top 16. The shooting duo of Jessica Monteith and Kelly Shearing showed their experience and class, turning their defences inside out with speed and teamwork. Packed into the midcourt, the youngest members of the team were the constant stars, growing in confidence and winning six out of eight Player of the Game awards given out during the tournament.

Showing some real tenacity, Sarah Menzies, Christina Grove, Ebony Turner, Taylor Anderson and Kataraina Harris never gave up, coming out of nowhere to present themselves for the ball on attack, and snatching intercepts off their opposition. All the while, captain Devon Winders was the glue that held the team together, despite being hampered by an injured knee.

The tournament will be in Invercargill next year and the Aparima College girls are positioned well to compete again not only because of the fantastic young talent coming through in this team but because of the generous support they get from a community they are so proud to represent.

Finally a big thanks to all of the volunteers who have contributed to the mahi of the rūnaka over the last year. Your presence is vital to our existence. The successes of the various projects both on-going and new, is testament to your dedication and commitment to Ōraka Aparima whānau. Nāku te rourou nāu te rourou ka ora ai te iwi.

The Aparima College senior netball team ready to compete in Christchurch.

The Aparima College senior netball team ready to compete in Christchurch.