Stalwarts honoured at centenary

Dame Lois Muir is presented her Netball New Zealand service award by Silver Ferns Georgia (left)...
Dame Lois Muir is presented her Netball New Zealand service award by Silver Ferns Georgia (left) and Kate Heffernan at Dunedin Netball’s celebration of the NNZ centenary at the weekend. PHOTO: DUNEDIN NETBALL
They are the heart and soul behind the sport.

The people who are the first to arrive and the last to leave, the ones who give up hours to run the scoreboards, pick up the whistle, offer words of wisdom and everything in between.

Dunedin Netball celebrated all those people at a special function on Saturday when the organisation also marked Netball New Zealand becoming the first national netball body to reach 100 years.

It was a chance to pay tribute for everyone's invaluable service - some spanning more than 50 years - and also acknowledge the past, present and the future of the sport.

Former Otago team photos, uniforms and books were on display.

From players, coaches, umpires, support staff, bench officials and more, 27 people from across Otago were recognised with NNZ service awards, including four NNZ life members.

Otago coaching great Dame Lois Muir, who was inducted into NNZ hall of fame with icon status earlier this year, was at the top of that list and gladly accepted her award and those of fellow Otago NNZ life members the late Sara Foster, Rena Mackenzie and Margaret McAughtrie.

Silver Fern and Southern Steel sisters Kate and Georgia Heffernan - whose mother, Annette, was coached by Muir for the Silver Ferns in the 1980s - presented the awards at the function at the Edgar Centre, adding to a full circle moment for the family.

There were special presentations on Sunday for Georgie Salter after the Southern Steel’s win in Dunedin - where they won the Georgina Salter Memorial Trophy - which her family accepted, and for Steel assistant coach Jo Morrison.

Dunedin Netball general manager Lee-Anne Anderson said there were many special and emotional moments throughout the event.

"Very special, particularly when Dame Lois is able to come out and celebrate with us", Anderson said.

"For her to make the effort and to come down and be with us that’s always really special.

"But I think particularly so, there was a number of family members that had received the certificates on behalf of their family members that had passed that was really emotional.

"It was really special seeing them being able accept acknowledgement on behalf of their family members that had done so much for Otago.

"Some of those women never had children so netball was their life and some of those people that did have families ... netball was so much a part of their life it’s almost like they did more with netball than they did sometimes their families."

Netball New Zealand

Honour roll

Otago life members:  Lois Muir, Sara Foster*, Rena Mackenzie*, Margaret McAughtrie*.

Netball New Zealand Otago and Dunedin services awards:  Val Gavin*, Edna George*, Lena McTaggart*, Nancy Whittleston*, Violet Byers*, Pam McCloy, Mary McConnell*, Margaret Bruss*, Audrey Thurlow*, Wilma Hendry, Ann O’Brien, May Laws*, Georgina Salter*, Doreen Tucker, Colleen Lyons, Sheryll Roy*, Jono Bredin, Adrienne Ensor, Lorraine Tapp, Jo Morrison, Kirstin Scully, Nicki Paterson, Lyn Wilson.

*Denotes deceased.