Netball World Cup winning coach Noeline Taurua has been named a Dame in the New Year’s Honours, becoming just the third netballer to do so.
She follows in the footsteps of Dame Lois Muir (services to Netball) and Dame June Mariu (services to Maori and the community) in being awarded a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (DNZM).
Taurua was one of three netballers to be recognised in the 2019 Honours list along with world champion Silver Ferns captain Laura Langman and former Silver Fern Margaret Forsyth who were both made Officers of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM).
Netball NZ CEO Jennie Wyllie extended her congratulations to Noeline, Laura and Margaret for the incredible honour they have been awarded.
“It’s been a massive year for Netball (post winning the Netball World Cup), so to receive such prestigious recognition for members of our community is a special moment for New Zealand Netball.”
The Damehood recognises Taurua’s contribution to Netball in New Zealand which culminated in the country’s first world title in 16 years when the Silver Ferns won the Netball World Cup in July, 2019.
Taurua has been a leading domestic coach, having coached the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic from 2002 to 2013. During this time the team won the 2005 and 2006 National Bank Cup and the ANZ Championship in 2012, the only time a New Zealand team who had won the former trans-Tasman competition.
She coached the Southern Steel to the semi finals of the ANZ Championship in 2016, following an unbeaten record in their regular competition.
Since 2017 she has coached the Sunshine Coast Lightning in Australia, which won the Suncorp Super Netball League in 2017, 2018 and minor premiers 2019. She has a reputation as a coach for fostering an inclusive team environment based on holistic principles, where athletes are willing to work for each other for the collective good, open to learning and comfortable to express themselves and test their abilities.
Taurua previously had a representative career, playing 34 Tests for New Zealand between 1994 and 1999. As a player she was a member of the team that achieved the bronze medal at the 1995 Netball World Cup and the Silver Medal at the 1998 Commonwealth Games. Taurua also represented Wellington in the provincial netball competition earlier in her career.
The former international helped to unite a Netball community in the build-up to the 2019 Netball World Cup – her vision put to the test during a limited timeframe after taking over the reins late in 2018.
New Zealand arrived at the Netball World Cup ranked fourth but the belief installed by Taurua ignited a campaign which ended in a victory enjoyed by all New Zealanders.
She achieved this feat while holding down her role as head coach at the Sunshine Coast Lightning, a team she took to their third straight Suncorp Super Netball grand final in Australia this year.
Taurua has received the Māori Television Matariki Awards, Te Waitā Award for Sport, 2019 and the Tai Tokerau Māori Sports Awards, Coach of the Year in 2018.
Langman, who was made an ONZM in the Honours list, played an integral role in leading the Silver Ferns on court as they built towards the world champs in England.
The Silver Ferns most capped player returned to the international stage after an 18-month break and resumed the midcourt role with performances which made her one of the most feared netballers in the game.
Langman captained the Silver Ferns to win the 2019 Netball World Cup, having played in the preceding 2007, 2011 and 2015 Netball World Cups. She became New Zealand’s first netballer to surpass 150 Test caps in 2019. She won Commonwealth Gold Medals with the Silver Ferns in 2006 and 2010 and Silver at the 2014 Games.
She was awarded the Dame Lois Muir Supreme award in 2015, 2016, 2019 at the New Zealand Netball Awards.
Langman, who made her Silver Ferns debut in 2005 and has now amassed 167 Test caps, also captained the Sunshine Coast Lightning to the Grand Final of Super Netball in Australia.
Meanwhile, Forsyth was also made an ONZM for her services to the sport and the community.
Forsyth has contributed to netball as a national representative player, coach and selector since the 1970s.
The two-time world champion was just 17 when she was first selected for New Zealand in 1979 when the national side shared the world title with Australia and Trinidad and Tobago.
She was still part of the side which won the world championships in 1987 in Glasgow, Scotland – making her one of a few Silver Ferns to have won two world crowns.
She played 64 Tests with the Silver Ferns. She also represented New Zealand internationally in athletics. She was head coach of the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic in 2017 and 2018. She was a key instigator of the Magic Leadership Team Development Programme for the off-season. She was assistant coach of the New Zealand FAST5 team in 2017 and the NZA team in 2016.
Throughout the 2010s she has been a Silver Ferns National Selector and a National Emerging Talent Selector. She coached secondary school netball from the mid-1990s until the mid-2000s. She is currently a member of the High Performance Sport New Zealand Coach Accelerator Programme Advisory Board, after graduating their programme as a coach.
Outside of Netball, she is currently serving a third term as a Hamilton City Councillor. Forsyth has led a stakeholder group that created Hamilton’s Biking Plan and was a major driver for the Destination Playgroup Working Group, establishing bespoke playgrounds for diverse communities in the city.