Elaine’s net­ball ser­vice recog­nised


Elaine Wi is a re­luc­tant hero.

The Porirua res­i­dent re­ceived a 50th medal last year, given to 50 liv­ing peo­ple or cou­ples, of­ten un­sung, who have made a dif­fer­ence, in the city.

Wi is all about net­ball. She is a stal­wart of Norths and has been pres­i­dent for 20 years.

But she says oth­ers like Joyce Prankerd, Noe­line Fisher and Nancy Toomer laid the foun­da­tion with re­gard to net­ball in Porirua.

‘‘I’m a Johnny come lately – oth­ers did all the work,’’ she said. ‘‘When I got the let­ter [to say she’d been awarded a medal], I thought, ‘You’re kid­ding’.’’

Mod­esty aside, Wi has just got on with what she felt was nec­es­sary to keep Norths and the Kapi Mana Net­ball Cen­tre func­tion­ing. Um­pir­ing, coach­ing, or­gan­is­ing tour­na­ments – it was an ex­ten­sion of her love of the sport as a long­time premier player.

‘‘You never thought about the ser­vice you were giv­ing for your club, you just got on with it. I love the game, al­ways have, and you just want to see things done right. Some­times you might be the only one putting up your hand, but that’s fine.’’

Wi is heav­ily in­volved in Maori net­ball at se­condary school, re­gional and na­tional level. She’s proud to say it’s thriv­ing.

Grow­ing up in Ti­tahi Bay, Wi at­tended Ti­tahi Bay North and Bishop Viard Col­lege. She said she played ev­ery sport go­ing.

‘‘There was a thriv­ing Wed­nes­day schools net­ball com­pe­ti­tion in Porirua. It was huge.

‘‘Grow­ing up then [in the 1960s and 1970s], you were into every­thing, hav­ing fun. Sport was good for so­cial skills, fit­ness, con­fi­dence – why wouldn’t you take part?’’

After her play­ing days, serv­ing her club and help­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of net­ballers be­came paramount. Teach­ing the ba­sics of catch­ing, pass­ing, shoot­ing and run­ning to young­sters had al­ways been sat­is­fy­ing, she said.

Porirua was a great place to grow up and raise a fam­ily in, Wi said.

‘‘Ev­ery­one here is loyal and proud. It gets a bad rap else­where, but we know what we’ve got.’’

Her beloved net­ball did get in the way of her at­tend­ing the Porirua 50th awards dinner last Oc­to­ber – Wi was at­tend­ing a se­condary schools tour­na­ment in the South Is­land.

Elaine Wi, pic­tured with Porirua mayor Nick Leggett, was recog­nised for her ser­vice to net­ball with a 50th medal.

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