Successful night for Māori netballers

By Taroi Black
  • Auckland

Ngāti Pāoa's Laura Langman won the prestigious Dame Louis Muir Supreme Award at the annual New Zealand Netball Awards.

Langman (Ngāti Pāoa) who has just signed a contract with the Sunshine Coast Lightning in the new Australian league ended the season successfully with the Silver Ferns, helping them win against the Australian Diamonds in Tasmania.

She says, "I've had a great year and although things might look different this time next year I'm looking forward to the challenges with the Lightning."
Her former Waikato BOP Magic coach Noeline Taurua will lead the new Sunshine Coast team, the same team Rotorua's Erena Mikaere and English superstar, Geva Mentor will be joining. Langman has also acknowledged super shooter Caitlin Bassett for signing up with the Queensland-based franchise. 
Langman says, "Having one of the best shooters in the world to feed is an exciting prospect for any feeder. So I'm looking forward to getting in amongst it and seeing how that circle works."
When I was under Noels we had the potential to investigate what a hybrid will look like in terms of zone defence to man-to-man. But I'll be excited to know how that will fit the game." 
Langman told Te Kāea yesterday that her move to Lightning is essentially like a 'blank canvas' and her controversial move will make her ineligible to represent the Silver Ferns next year, according to a new rule under Netball New Zealand. 
"As much as I want the rule to change I still respect their decision," Langman says.   
She was also named Player of the Year while Kayla Cullen (Ngāpuhi) picked up the Women's Day People's Choice award after leading the Northern Mystics to a 2016 playoff appearance in the last year of the ANZ Championships.
"I feel like it's rigged a wee bit. I promise I wasn't voting for myself this year maybe last year though", Cullen says.  
Another Māori player from the Mystics, Holly Fowler received the award for an Aspiring Silver Fern.