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Celebrating netball volunteer Dana Thompson

A love of netball was the catalyst for Hauraki Plains Netball Centre volunteer Dana Thompson to follow the coaching pathway. We talk to Dana about her volunteer roles.

Dana Thompson clearly remembers her first coaching clinic she attended – it was run by now Silver Ferns head coach Dame Noeline Taurua.

It was to be the start of Dana’s lengthy coaching association with Hauraki Plains Netball Centre as her love for the game led her down the path of volunteering.

Since then she has given her spare time to guiding others from the sideline but also acting as the Centre’s secretary, an umpire and a coaching co-ordinator.

Dana has continued down the coaching pathway, currently coaching a school team and adult team as well as being a selector for representative teams. This year she was also in charge of the U16 representative team which played in the Taranaki Junior tournament in July and is working towards her Zone practical assessment for umpiring.

Add to that the coach co-ordinator role she takes on for Hauraki Plains and it’s easy to see why Centre President Ash Hill is often turning to Dana for help.

“She is a ‘go to’ for me,” said Hill. “Dana is an amazing netball lady.”

The volunteer hours add up, but Dana wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I love netball,” she said. “I am told that I don’t know how to say ‘no’, but I love the game – everything about netball and that’s why I like being involved.

“I also like helping and have a sense that if I can help, I will.”

Dana said seeing the joy on the faces of the netballers she coaches is one of the big reasons why she keeps coming back.

“That joy on the kids’ faces when they achieve their goals is absolutely amazing,” she said. “I think when the players give you a card at the end of the season saying they have never had a coach like me....and they thank me for it. But they really do the hard work. I’m just there to help guide them on their journey.”

Dana, who has also been a member of the Board of Trustees at her local school for 11 years, credits her family for allowing her to continue her passion of volunteering within the netball community.

Her sister, Tania Herewini, has been a strong supporter – the duo co-coaching an adult team they started together – while her now adult children were constantly “dragged” to the netball courts to allow her to coach during their younger years.

“They are all my support,” she said. “Nothing runs better than a team of people working for you. I don’t think I would be able to have had such great moments as a volunteer without a great bunch like our Hauraki Netball Centre and my family.”