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Long-serving netball volunteers honoured

Netball New Zealand would like to acknowledge five stalwarts who were recognised in the New Year’s Honours for their long and selfless service to netball and their communities.

Julia Truesdale (Wellington), Robin Boldarin (Wellington), Martha Taru (Wellington), Malia Venning (Hutt Valley) and Angela Keenan (Hokitika) all received the Queen’s Service Medal for their selfless contribution to netball over many years in a variety of roles.

Volunteering as a school netball coach and administrator from 1995 - 2015, Truesdale was involved in creating inter­school competitions for Western Zoned Wellington primary schools, umpiring and running yearly umpiring workshops for parents and Year 7 and 8 students while also writing applications for funding to provide equipment for teams. She also coordinated the Fun Ferns, a developmental netball programme for Year 3 children.

Boldarin has been an integral part of Catholic Netball Wellington City Area for decades and is currently secretary of the Wellington Primary School Sports Association, involved in running the Wellington Primary School annual tournament while also acting as convenor and an umpire at Tuesday and Saturday netball games and tournaments.

A dynamic presence in netball and the Pacific community, Taru has been President of the Pacific Islands Church (PIC) Netball Club since 2009 after first becoming involved with the famous Wellington club in 1977. She quickly transitioned from playing competitive netball into coaching, mentoring and administration.

Taru has been involved in coaching and selection of representative teams for more than 30 years. She has coached a Cook Islands national team and has had multiple successes as a Wellington club coach at all levels and age groups. She is involved on an annual basis with the selection of school teams and representative teams from the National Netball League.

Through the Wellington Cook Islands Sports Association, she has contributed to the planning and implementation of events like the New Zealand Cook Islands Sports and Cultural Federation netball programme and player awards. She is a Netball Wellington Centre Life Member and was recognised as Netball Wellington Volunteer of the Year in 2018 and in 2019. She has also received a Netball New Zealand Service Award.

Venning has been involved with the Tokelau Hutt Valley Sports and Culture Association for more than 40 years. In 2007, she was elected as the National Netball Coordinator for Mafutaga Tupulaga Tokelau Niu Hila, the national Tokelau youth body and was part of the group who helped establish Tokelau Netball in 2006. She was integral in the Tokelau representative netball team competing at the South Pacific Games in Samoa and was cultural advisor for the Tokelau Netball team at the Pacific Mini Games in 2019.

She has been a strong contributor to the Tokelau community and was a founding member and cultural advisor of the Tokelau Nurses and Health Workers Association of New Zealand. She is also

secretary of Te Umiumiga a Tokelau Hutt Valley, which provides education programmes, support services and a community facility for Tokelau families.

Keenan has made a major contribution to netball in Hokitika in a variety of roles, including as president, secretary and coaching co-ordinator for Hokitika Netball Centre since 1984.

She has coordinated coaching programmes for coaches, players and umpires for 20 years, attended the New Zealand netball championships as a senior coach and U15 coach, and was the Centre’s secretary for five years. She organised the netball summer fitness programme every summer for 15 years, which involved fundraising for equipment and venue costs, organising sessions, liaising with schools to promote the programme, and running the sessions themselves.

She has organised junior basketball for the Westland Basketball Association since 2006 and running for the Hokitika Athletic Club since 2004. She drove the development of a new sports complex at Westland High School and chaired the complex’s committee after local government funding was approved.