Big crowd turn up to farewell netball boss

GOODBYE: Departing Netball Manawatu general manager Louise Clarke.
GOODBYE: Departing Netball Manawatu general manager Louise Clarke.

Tributes flowed for departing Netball Manawatu general manager Louise Clarke at Vautier Park last night.

That was the highlight of an otherwise uneventful Netball Manawatu annual meeting, as a big crowd turned up to farewell Clarke, who is moving to Australia with her husband after being in the job for five years.

Netball Manawatu chairwomen Annie Butler said Clarke had been a breath of fresh air and could put her "crazy ideas" into practice.

"She allowed me to dream big," Butler said.

Butler, Netball Manawatu legend Betty Steffensen, Manawatu's Netball Central Zone rep Sue Gould and others spoke to farewell Clarke.

Netball Manawatu finance risk and audit chair Viv Cotton reported a net deficit of $1044 for the year, after a surplus of $22,714 last year.

"It's actually quite a positive place to be in because we are technically a not-for-profit organisation," she said.

Player fees and grants were spent, so they didn't have to dig into cash reserves, she said.

Netball Manawatu will have to increase fees this year for the first time in four years to meet operating costs, because Netball New Zealand continues to put theirs up.

Butler stressed they did not want the amateur centres like Manawatu to be propping up the professional Central zone financially.

Manawatu's administration costs increased, mainly because of the addition of new development staff.

Rep team costs went up by about $20,000 because the Manawatu team went to the NPC in Dunedin, but they will try to reduce rep team costs this year.

There was also the five-year upgrade of the Vautier Park pavilion, but now it's finished, costs should "slow down".

Assets have increased by the new $60,000 floodlights at Vautier Park, courtesy of Central Energy Trust.

Deb Gurney and Carla na Nagara joined the board, while Jan Clough stood down last year.

Jeanette Daysh was given a Netball Manawatu service award for 25 years of service to Kairanga, Olympic, Awatapu College and rep netball.

Vern Chettleburgh was re-appointed as patron.

One of the board's focuses during the next two years is to look at building an indoor facility at Vautier Park.

They addressed the positive work done by Manawatu in the new role as the enabler centre, connecting all the centres under the new Horizons region - Manawatu, Wanganui, Horowhenua, Rangitikei, Taihape and Dannevirke.

There are 314 club and school teams in Manawatu.

Manawatu Standard