Injuries see her called on to play
Michelle Tupper was at the right place and the right time as she debuted as goal shooter for the New Zealand Over 30s women side as well as managed the over 30 mixed side at the Tri Nations netball tournament in Johannesburg.
The Whangamata Area School teacher’s health and physical education head of department’s initial role was to just manage — but she quickly got the call up as injuries hit the over 30 women, a call that came as Michelle was out shopping.
“I needed to rush back to the stadium to pull on the GS bib. There was no time for nerves,” Michelle says.
The Whangamata Area School teacher quickly fitted into the side in her debut game against Australia. She was ecstatic that her netball experience enabled her to slot easily into the team pattern.
“I gave myself permission to do what I’m good at,” she says.
Her precise shooting form saw her play four tests for NZ at this tournament. Also Michelle managed the over 30s mixed side that reached the final against Australia, which won by two points.
South African born Michelle became the unofficial tour guide with her local knowledge and fluent Afrikaans, which also came in handy when she intercepted any South African tactical changes at courtside.
She says emotions overflowed at the tournament opening ceremony when the national anthems were sung in an experience that was “hard to explain”.
A similar highly charged moment came as the NZ squads completed the haka.
The NZ team spirit was inclusive and included the whakatauki, or saying, kaore te ku¯ mara e korero ana mo tona ake reka, the ku¯ mara does not brag about its own sweetness. This can be translated as a reminder to be humble and practise humility.
All NZ teams under 19 women, under 19 mixed, under 23 mixed, over 30 women and over 30 mixed reached the six aside finals.
Michelle acknowledges and thanks Whangamata Lions for their great financial support towards this trip.
Michelle Tupper played and managed the New Zealand Over 30s women side at the over 30 mixed side at the Tri Nations netball tournament in Johannesburg.