When Kate Hastie hears about young umpires achieving at her netball centre, it only reinforces her reasons for volunteering in a sport she loves.
The Te Awamutu Netball Centre committee member and long-time volunteer has been recognised for the time she has given to her community and the sport.
What started out as the odd game to umpire when her daughter started playing 23 years ago, turned into years as a whistler, her Zone practical and New Zealand theory as an umpire, and the chance to help others as first an umpire co-ordinator and latterly a bench official co-ordinator for the club.
“I love being involved,” she said.
But her biggest thrill is when she hears from those who she has helped on their own pathways as an umpire.
She is a proud volunteer when she sees those coming through the ranks achieving as an umpire, knowing her role played a part in their achievements.
“I spent a number of years in the umpire co-ordinator position at Te Awamutu Netball Centre and I've always enjoyed watching junior umpires I've coached progress and achieve their own badges” she said.
“It was even more special when one of the junior umpires rang to thank me for spotting her umpiring all those years ago when she achieved her NZC.
“But the most touching moment for me has to be when my son came home from an U18 tournament five years ago to say he got his NZC – it was a proud mummy moment.”
Hastie said she had been fortunate to have an encouraging predecessor as the umpire co-ordinator who helped “ease” her into the role.
“She had supported me through to my Zone practical when I umpired and then when it became my turn to take on the umpire co-ordinator role, Sandy, helped ease me into the role so she could move into the bench official co-ordinator.”
Described by club members as someone who is “always going above and beyond to help at our Centre”, Hastie has taken on other positions at the Te Awamutu Netball Centre.
She is now the bench official co-ordinator which involves organising and training bench officials for the Centre’s premier and premier reserve matches. It means she must ensure there are other volunteers to control the bench for four games on a Tuesday and Wednesday night and Hastie is always recruiting new people to join the bench official team.
“Again, I’m lucky to be well supported in this role which makes my job easier,” she said.
Hastie still has a whistle not far from her grasp and is now a centre committee member.
“I do still enjoy umpiring and try to get a game in on a Tuesday night in our premier reserve competition and usually a couple of games on a Saturday,” she said.
“I am also on the Paper Plus Te Awamutu Netball Centre committee where we have a great bunch of volunteers who are community driven, and we all do our best to support our netball community.”
Would you like to be involved with your local Netball Centre? There are many different ways to be involved. To make this easy, we’ve created a form you can fill out here and we will connect you with your local Centre.