Widely respected as a player, coach and administrator, Wai Taumaunu brings a wealth of experience to her latest role as Director of High Performance for Netball Central.
The former Silver Ferns captain and coach has carved out a strong netball pedigree across all facets of the game over the last 30 years and now turns her hand to helping foster the next generation of talent in her home region.
An experienced campaigner in the high performance environment as both a player and coach, Taumaunu spent the bulk of her international career playing out of Wellington and is now primed to continue her stellar contribution to the area.
Taumaunu will work closely across the Central Pulse and Beko teams as well as Centre representative level while providing support to the various deliverers in these areas.
``I have a real affinity with netball in this area and what I’m working towards in the long term is a homegrown Pulse team that wins,’’ she said.
``So, the role is about ensuring that we have a seamless and effective pathway for players to go from their local Centres across the region and they can see opportunities right up to the Pulse.’’
Taumaunu has been actively engaged with the secondary school programme in the Zone and is excited by what has been achieved.
``To have five kids trial for the New Zealand under-21s and have five make that squad is great,’’ she said. ``Even though it’s early days, it’s good vindication that we’re doing some good work there in supporting these youngsters.
``It’s not a Rolls Royce machine and we do what we can on limited resources but we’ve got great people involved and that’s starting to show through.’’
CEO Carolyn Young is delighted to have to have secured a person of Taumaunu’s stature for the benefit of Netball Central.
``Wai brings with her a wealth of experience as a high performance coach and player which will be invested into our players across the Zone, ensuring that they develop into the best that they can be,’’ she said.
Taumanu represented the Silver Ferns from 1981-91 which included winning the 1987 World Championship title before hanging up her bib and becoming immersed in other aspects of the sport.
Her early coaching stints were with the Wellington provincial team and PIC club in the national league, her teams clinching both titles in 1996. Taumaunu’s early Silver Ferns coaching aspirations were put on hold when she accepted the position of National Performance Director of the All England Netball Association from 1998-2003. It was the first time a New Zealander had been hired on a fulltime contract to run netball in another country.
Taumaunu got her first taste of international coaching as the assistant for England at the 2003 World Championships before returning home. She had stints as the NZA team coach and two terms as Silver Ferns assistant coach 1997-98, and 2008-11 before assuming the head coaching role in late 2011.
The former defender has twice been honoured for her services to netball, receiving a MBE in 1992 and an ONZM last year. She was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.