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.