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Netball NZ cancels 2020 secondary school events

Netball New Zealand, in conjunction with the organisers of the South Island, Lower North Island and Upper North Island Secondary Schools events, have made the decision to cancel this year’s secondary school regional and national tournaments due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.

All events will be rescheduled next year.

The three regional events South Island Secondary Schools, Lower North Island Secondary Schools and Upper North Island Secondary Schools which were to be played in Timaru, Hawke's Bay and Auckland in early September will remain at the same venues but will now be played in 2021.

The coveted Fuji Xerox NZ Secondary Schools Netball Champs has also been cancelled this year and returns to the calendar in 2021 where it will be played at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua from October 12-15.

Netball NZ Chief Executive Jennie Wyllie said they understood the disappointment felt by secondary school netballers around the country but made the decision in conjunction with organisers of regional events and School Sport New Zealand.

“This has been a difficult decision to make but we are making it early rather than later to help schools with their planning,” she said.

Wyllie said they had taken a number of factors into account in making the call including the heightened risks for students travelling for events, the lead-in time required by schools and organisers for events, and the financial pressures on families, schools and communities at this time.

There are also a large number of officials and volunteers who are needed to help run these events, many of whom will now find it difficult to take annual leave from their job later in the year.

“It is not a decision we take lightly but the degree of uncertainty around what the remainder of the year will look like for sport means we wanted to make an early decision,” she said.

“We look forward to seeing our secondary school athletes back in action next year.”

Fuji Xerox New Zealand Marketing Communications Manager Kevin Ptak supported the decision.

“As naming rights sponsor of the Fuji Xerox NZ Secondary Schools Netball Champs, we support the decision reached by Netball NZ and look forward to working to help facilitate secondary school netballers returning to play.”

The cancellation of these events for 2020 will be disappointing for students across New Zealand and in particular students who are in their last year of secondary school. Netball NZ is looking at opportunities for these Year 13 students later in 2020 or in 2021.

These events are important opportunities in the athlete pathway for identifying players with future potential. Netball NZ will work with Zones to ensure strong links to player identification systems within zones and opportunities continue to exist for aspiring players in the second half of 2020 and into early 2021.

The venues that were to host the four netball events this year will host them in 2021 and seedings for the regional events will roll over to next year.

Qualifiers for the 2021 Fuji Xerox NZ Secondary Schools Netball Champs will be found at next year’s regional championships, where the top 16 schools in the country will compete for national honours.

2021 Secondary School Event Details:

South Island Secondary Schools Netball Champs
30 Aug - 2 Sep at Aorangi Park in Timaru

Lower North Island Secondary Schools Netball Champs
30 Aug - 3 Sep at Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park in Hawke's Bay

Upper North Island Secondary Schools Netball Champs
30 Aug - 3 Sep at Howick Pakuranga Netball Centre, Lloyd Elsmore Park in Auckland

Fuji Xerox NZ Secondary Schools Netball Champs
12 - 15 Oct at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua