Sponsorship struggles for Indoor Netballers

By Moana Makapelu Lee

Today the seven-a-side indoor netball tournament kicked off at the World Cup. A first for Wellington to host the event since NZ last hosted it in 2003. New Zealand indoor netball enthusiasts hope the event will encourage more public interest in the sport.

It's an opportunity of a lifetime for Marutawhao Delamere to commentate at his first World Cup.

“There has been so many opportunities at this event. Especially for a lot of umpires, organisers and managers, most of whom are Māori. We don't receive a lot of sponsorship but most of us do it for the love of the game.”

For many players and workers like Delamere, it's been a self-funded journey to get to the World Cup due to low sponsorship and funding for indoor sports.

Organiser Marcia Te Ratana says, “Hopefully from having this here we can expose the sport to the wider community of NZ and also to maybe be recognised from Sports NZ in the future and hopefully get some personal sponsorship for either players or the sport itself of Indoor Netball that would be fantastic because a lot of our players including our umpires and managers and coaches are all self-funded.”

According to Delamere, indoor netball is the breeding ground of elite player’s coaches, umpires and management.

“We have a few players here who have been training over the past few months for Netball Elite League tournament coming up. Also, a lot of our umpires also umpire for NZ netball events which has opened many doors for them to umpire at a high level such as the ANZ Championships.”

The week-long tournament will conclude this Saturday where either South Africa, Australia, England or New Zealand come out victorious.