Netball Mainland on its way

JONATHAN MCKEOWN
Last updated 13:00 07/11/2012
Netball Mainland
Fairfax NZ

CHANGES: Doug Milne and Vicki Reid, who are board members for the new Netball Mainland zone.

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After 13 years of "punching above our weight", Netball Tasman will cease to exist as an entity at the end of this month.

Tasman will then combine with the former Canterbury body to form the Netball Mainland zone on December 1.

However, even with the new administration, a Tasman netball team could still run out on court next season.

Netball New Zealand has fused the 12 regional centres into five zones, centred on the five ANZ Championship franchises. The move will see one governance body oversee all netball across the 18 centres from Golden Bay to Waimate.

On the seven-person Netball Mainland board, chaired by Ashburton accountant Anne Marett, are Nelson-based administrators Doug Milne and Vicki Reid. Milne and Reid, along with Jan Barber, were elected, while Marett, Andrew Britt and Tim Kerr were appointed, along with Netball New Zealand appointment Noeline Ward.

Reid is the financial manager of Nelson Netball, a board member of Netball Tasman and was a part of the Netball Mainland zone working committee. Milne has been a member of the Netball Tasman board for nine years, eight of those as chairman.

The head of Netball Mainland is Canterbury Tactix chief Peter Smith. Also falling under the Netball Mainland umbrella will be the rebranded Mainland Tactix, who are due to play two games at Nelson's Trafalgar Centre: A season opener against the champion Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic, and the Western Fever.

The hosting of Nelson's first trans-Tasman championship is a substantial boost to the new zone's distinctive identity, an aspect Milne was keen to promote.

"We are trying to educate the public, and break down the thought that we are only becoming a part of Canterbury; that is not the case at all. Canterbury has gone, Tasman has gone, and we have the Netball Mainland zone."

Netball Tasman was set up in 2000, encompassing five top of the south netball centres, Buller, Golden Bay, Motueka, Nelson and Marlborough.

The Tasman netball senior team played in the national provincial championship, and had a number of successful age grade teams.

"We can look back with satisfaction over the last 13 years . . . We have punched above our weight as a region," said Milne.

"We have been innovative and not frightened to try things in the interest of netball across the top of the south."

With the first meeting of the board scheduled for November 21, the continuation of a Tasman team is still on the table. Theoretically, next year's national provincial championship could have as many as 90 centres competing or as few as five zones, and any number in between.

Centres will be allowed to join together to produce teams.

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