Hawke’s Bay’s Junior Netball programme has grown to be the largest of its kind in New Zealand, just one year into a new structure which has seen Hawke’s Bay Netball bring the junior levels under its umbrella, with Unison on board as naming sponsor.
Tina Arlidge, Operations Manager for Hawke’s Bay Netball said Unison’s sponsorship had really helped lift the programme in terms of participation.
“We came on board last year to further develop netball in our region by ensuring a holistic programme that would appeal to, and encourage, the junior levels.
“It’s a great achievement to already have the largest participation rate of any junior netball programme in New Zealand, and this can largely be attributed to Unison’s involvement and support.”
Having been a major sponsor of junior rugby for five years, helping to grow the game locally, Unison last year decided to offer similar support to netball in the region.
Unison Group Chief Executive, Ken Sutherland, said the results had already proven it to be a worthwhile decision.
“Our first year of involvement was very successful. It’s great to see the programme thriving, and to hear numbers have grown by around 56% in just one season.
“By partnering with sports like netball, rugby and hockey at a junior level, we are reaching thousands of children with important safety messages, whilst supporting an active and healthy community at the same time.”
With its sponsorship activity, Unison strives to support organisations and groups that are working to grow the community in a positive way.
“Hawke’s Bay is a small community in comparison to a lot of New Zealand’s larger cities, and we are proud to support a programme that is leading the way in such an important area of focus for children,” said Mr Sutherland.
“Physically active lifestyles contribute to a healthier population of children in our region, and we are therefore looking forward to another great season encouraging this.”
In 2015, all primary and intermediate school netballers will again receive a kit bag and drink bottle from Unison at the beginning of the season, with each team also getting Player of the Day certificates and trophies.
The Unison Medal ceremony will be held at the end of the season, recognising one player from each primary school team who has shown great work ethic, discipline and fair play throughout the season.
“And of course, Unison will be at the courts again this year with lots of promotions throughout the season.”