Junior Ngatangiia Matavera “Eastern Stars” netball players take to the courts at the official opening. 21020907.
After years of land ownership disputes, the newly upgraded Ngatangiia Matavera Health Centre and netball courts opened this week.
Landowners, Aronga Mana and the community sports association
members and supporters attended the long-awaited event.
Meti Nikoia, a landowner, was delighted to see the venue
“It has been a while, but it’s done. It’s good to see
something there for the community and for the children to enjoy to exercise and
come together,” said Nikoia.
“This time there were no visible protesters at the occasion
which was good … we can get on with our sports events and healthy lifestyle for
Kaka Ama, the president of the Ngatangiia Matavera Sports
Association, is grateful and excited the project is completed.
“We have been working on this for some years. I’m very
thankful to the landowners and we show our appreciation. This is something we
should all be proud of and excited for, this is for all our children and for
generations to come,” Ama said.
Two weeks ago, the Sports Association held its first junior
netball training for 2021. Eighty children turned up for the sessions.
Landowners and Aronga Mana cut the braided rauti ribbon to open the upgraded Ngatangiia Matavera Health Centre and netball courts. 21020905.
Liana Eggleton Nicholas, the vice president of the
association and the netball club, said: “We have had a huge increase in player
numbers (netball) and currently have over 120 registered players.”
“For the first time in seven years, we can field all 10
netball grades from the under-6 right up to premier grade.”
The netball club has been rebranded “Eastern Stars” or the Maroon
Squad. They now have new resources and netball uniforms.
“Netball has come alive for our club again. It has always
been, but the pulse was a bit low for a while, now it is pumping along … very
much alive and we are ready for the 2021 netball season,” said Nicholas.
“We are truly blessed and fortunate to have a facility like
this. As a netball club, it’s about our kids, our community, our family coming
together and working together in the spirit of sport.”
Nicholas sincerely thanked the Aronga Mana and landowners of
Nukupure who gifted the land for sport and recreation, the Japanese Government
for providing the funds, Korero O Te Orau’s Jackie and Teina Rongo who oversaw
the project, Kaka Ama and the executive, project manager Des Eggelton, Tai Nicholas
and Lynnsay Frances (legal counsel) and the netball club executives, families,
parents, friends and supporters.