The annual event which will be held at a revamped netball courts in Arorangi will have more than 300 netball players and supporters from Australia and New Zealand.
International teams, that include many overseas based Cook Islands players, have started descending on Rarotonga for this week’s tournament. 21 international teams will rub shoulders on court with 11 local based squads.
New Zealand Police are back again not only to give their all on the netball court, but also spend time providing community outreach programmes on the island.
Netball in Paradise is the local netball body’s main annual fundraiser, managed by Turama Pacific Travel’s groups and events department Destination Management Cook Islands (DMCK). The funds raised will go towards junior netball development in the Cook Islands.
The tournament itself also provides much needed court and game exposure time for junior netters to further improve their natural netball skills.
All games during the five-day tournament will be played at the Arorangi Sports ground starting at 12pm daily and will run in to the early evening with the last game of the day scheduled for 7pm.
With three netball courts refurbished for action – three matches will be played at one time and over 30 games a day, guaranteeing netball lovers an action packed day.
And with food vendors also on site – the Arorangi sports grounds and Netball in Paradise tournament will be the place to be for lunch this week and after work for fantastic sporting entertainment with bar and clubroom facilities open every day.
Future shooting stars in the 15 and under age division will have only the local based teams made up of top local talents. But the 17 and under division will be hotly contested with visiting Piopio College and Pakuranga United sure to provide tough games for the local based Raro Pearls under 17 side.
If past tournaments are anything to go by, the open and social ladies division will be anything but social as most teams come to the tournament to play serious netball and have even more serious fun!
The mixed division is once again the most popular grade of the tournament with the combination of men and women on court taking netball to a whole new level.
Keep an eye out for a couple of local teams made up of the various Pacific island communities on the island namely the Te Pae Tai Nui mixed team from the Edgewater Resort and the Viti Koula team made up of Raro’s own flying Fijian talents!
In fact, if you’ve never played or watched netball, you will be instantly converted after watching a mixed game as the combination of power and finesse of male and female players on court is sporting poetry in motion.
Netball Cook Islands would like to thank and acknowledge the continued support of event naming sponsor Bank South Pacific who has been on board as the gold naming sponsor for the past three years.
Meitaki maata also to silver sponsor Cook Islands Tourism, bronze sponsor Island Car and Bike Hire as well as generous associated sponsors Air Rarotonga, The Bond Store, Alberto’s Restaurant and everyone involved in ensuring Netball in Paradise is another success.
– Matariki Wilson/DMCK events