New Zealand national netball team

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New Zealand
Silver Ferns logo.svg
Nickname(s) Silver Ferns
Association Netball New Zealand
Confederation Oceania Netball Federation
Head coach Waimarama Taumaunu
Captain Casey Kopua
Vice-captain Laura Langman
Most caps Irene Van Dyk (139)
INF ranking 2
Kit body netball.svg
Team colours
Kit skirt netball.svg
Team colours
First international
Australia  40 – 11  New Zealand
Melbourne, 1938
World Championships
2011 placing 2nd
Best result 1st (1967, 1979, 1987, 2003)
Commonwealth Games
2014 placing 2nd
Best result 1st (2006, 2010)

The New Zealand national netball team, commonly known as the Silver Ferns, represents New Zealand in international netball. The team take their nickname from the Silver Tree Fern (Cyathea dealbata), which is an iconic emblem for many New Zealand sports teams.[1] The Silver Ferns were formed in 1938 as a representative New Zealand team to tour Australia. To date, they have been one of the most dominant national netball teams in the world, along with the Australian Diamonds, and have a winning record against most other netball nations. At the end of the 2011 international netball season, the Silver Ferns were ranked second in the IFNA World Rankings.[2]

The Silver Ferns compete annually for the Constellation Cup a home-and-away test series with Australia, and also play test matches with other major netball countries, including England and Jamaica, on a regular basis. They have competed at every World Netball Championship since its inauguration in 1963, and in every Commonwealth Games since netball's inclusion in 1998. The Silver Ferns have won the World Netball Championships four times (in 1967, 1979, 1987 and 2003). They also won the netball title at the Commonwealth Games in 2006 and 2010.

The Silver Ferns are administered by Netball New Zealand, the national governing body for netball in the country. Silver Ferns players are usually selected from New Zealand ANZ Championship franchises. Waimarama Taumaunu is the current head coach after former coach Ruth Aitken retired in 2011.[3]


Introduction of netball to New Zealand[edit]

Netball was introduced into New Zealand as "women's basketball" in 1906[4][5] or 1907[6][7] by Rev. J. C. Jamieson, after having seen the game being played in Australia. The game spread through schools across the country, and by 1924 the New Zealand Basketball Association was formed to administer the game on a national basis.[4] Early attempts were made in the 1920s to organise international matches in New Zealand, but these were curtailed by insufficient funds and international differences in playing rules.[6]

Formation and early tests[edit]

In 1938, the New Zealand Basketball Association sent the first New Zealand representative women's basketball team to tour Australia. The team's emblem and colours, a Silver Fern on a black uniform, had previously been decided in the same year that the association was founded. Margaret Matangi captained the first Silver Ferns team in their debut international test series,[8] played according to Australian seven-a-side rules (cf. nine-a-side in New Zealand). In their first international test, the Silver Ferns lost to Australia 40–11.[9] In 1948, ten years after the first tour and three years after the end of World War II, an Australian team toured New Zealand, winning all three test matches against the Silver Ferns, as well as all nine provincial matches; again, the games were played under Australian seven-a-side rules.[6] A team representing the New Zealand Minor Associations toured Fiji in 1954, at the invitation of the Fijian Basketball Association; the Fijians in turn sent a representative team to New Zealand in 1957.[6] New Zealand once again organised a team to tour Australia in 1960. The team was captained by June Waititi and also featured renowned defender Lois Muir.[4]

The international game[edit]

By the time of the 1960 tour of Australia, netball-playing nations from around the world had met to draft the first international rules of netball, which featured seven-a-side teams.[6] The first Netball World Championships (then called the "World Tournament") took place in 1963 in Eastbourne, England. The New Zealand team travelled to the venue by boat, arriving after a voyage of six weeks.[10] The team were captained by Pam Edwards, with Muir as vice-captain. Australia defeated New Zealand 37–36 in a closely contested final to win the tournament.[4] The Silver Ferns would not play again for another four years, until the next World Championships in Perth. Captained by Judy Blair, New Zealand defeated Australia 43–40 to win the tournament.[10]

In 1970, New Zealand played a visiting Fiji team, before touring England and the Caribbean. Also that same year, the Silver Ferns uniform changed from a black tunic to a black skirt and white shirt.[4] New Zealand competed in the third World Championships in Jamaica the following year, again coming second behind Australia. The Silver Ferns toured England in 1974. One year later New Zealand hosted its first World Championships, where the host nation finished third behind Australia and England. Four years later at the 1979 Netball World Championships, the Silver Ferns finished 1st equal, tied with Australia and Trinidad and Tobago.

Regular competition[edit]

The 1980s saw the emergence of regular international competition for the Silver Ferns, as well as increasing television coverage of netball matches in New Zealand.[11] The Silver Ferns competed in two World Championships, in 1983 and 1987. The 1983 Championships were held in Singapore, where New Zealand were defeated in the finals by Australia; four years later, the Silver Ferns defeated Australia to win the 1987 Championships in Glasgow. Starting from 1985, the Silver Ferns have played international tests on an annual basis. In 1989, New Zealand achieved a historic clean-sweep test series win over Australia. It was also the year in which netball was included in the World Games, where New Zealand progressed undefeated to emerge as champions. The Silver Ferns subsequently won the New Zealand Sportsteam of the Year (team award) that year.[10] In the 1990s, the Silver Ferns contested three World Championships but did not manage to win any of them. The 1999 Championship final between Australia and New Zealand was the highest-ever rating programme for televisor TV2.[4] Another trans-Tasman Silver Ferns match in 2008 attracted a higher television audience than for a recent Bledisloe Cup–deciding rugby union match.[12]

Recent history[edit]

The Silver Ferns have had several successes in the 2000s. The Silver Ferns once again emerged as world champions after winning the 2003 World Championships in Jamaica. 2005 was a similarly successful year, in which they won all eight international tests, with comfortable series victories over England and Australia, capped off with a tri-series win over Jamaica and Barbados. That year they also posted their highest ever score against Australia, winning 61–36 in Auckland.[4] In 2006, New Zealand won gold at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, but were defeated by Australia at the final of 2007 World Championships in Auckland the following year. In 2009, the first World Netball Series was contested in England, with the Silver Ferns defeating Jamaica in the grand final to win the inaugural tournament.[13] Success was repeated the following year at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, with New Zealand defeating Australia in a dramatic 66–64 double-overtime gold medal playoff win.[14] The Silver Ferns are currently ranked second in the IFNA netball world rankings, which until 2008 were determined solely by the results of the World Championships.[2]

Competitive record[edit]

Netball World Championships
Year Championship Location Placing
1963 1st World Championships Eastbourne, England Med 2.png 2nd place
1967 2nd World Championships Perth, Australia Med 1.png 1st
1971 3rd World Championships Kingston, Jamaica Med 2.png 2nd place
1975 4th World Championships Auckland, New Zealand Med 3.png 3rd place
1979 5th World Championships Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago Med 1.png Joint 1st
1983 6th World Championships Singapore Med 2.png 2nd place
1987 7th World Championships Glasgow, Scotland Med 1.png 1st
1991 8th World Championships Sydney, Australia Med 2.png 2nd place
1995 9th World Championships Birmingham, England Med 3.png 3rd place
1999 10th World Championships Christchurch, New Zealand Med 2.png 2nd place
2003 11th World Championships Kingston, Jamaica Med 1.png 1st
2007 12th World Championships Auckland, New Zealand Med 2.png 2nd place
2011 13th World Championships Singapore Med 2.png 2nd place
2015 14th World Championships Sydney, Australia Med 2.png 2nd place
2019 15th World Championships Liverpool, England
Netball at the Commonwealth Games
Year Games Event Location Placing
1998 XVI Games 1st Netball Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Med 2.png 2nd place
2002 XVII Games 2nd Netball Manchester, England Med 2.png 2nd place
2006 XVIII Games 3rd Netball Melbourne, Australia Med 1.png 1st
2010 XIX Games 4th Netball Delhi, India Med 1.png 1st
2014 XX Games 5th Netball Glasgow, Scotland Med 2.png 2nd place
2018 XXI Games 6th Netball Gold Coast, Australia
Netball at the World Games
Year Games Event Location Placing
1985 2nd World Games 1st Netball London, England Med 1.png 1st
1989 3rd World Games 2nd Netball Karlsruhe, Germany Med 1.png 1st
1993 4th World Games 3rd Netball The Hague, Netherlands Med 2.png 2nd place
Fast5 World Netball Series (formerly Fastnet)
Year Tournament Location Placing
2009 1st World Series Manchester, England Med 1.png 1st
2010 2nd World Series Liverpool, England Med 1.png 1st
2011 3rd World Series Liverpool, England Med 2.png 2nd
2012 4th World Series Auckland, New Zealand Med 1.png 1st
2013 5th World Series Auckland, New Zealand Med 1.png 1st
2014 6th World Series Auckland, New Zealand Med 1.png 1st


2015 Silver Ferns Netball World Cup Team[edit]

Name Positions 2015 ANZ Championship team
Jodi Brown GA, GS Central Pulse
Kayla Cullen GD, WD, C Northern Mystics
Leana de Bruin GK, GD Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
Shannon Francois C, WA, WD Southern Steel
Katrina Grant GD, GK Central Pulse
Phoenix Karaka GK, GD Southern Steel
Casey Kopua (Capt.) GD, GK Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
Laura Langman (Vice Capt.) C, WD, WA Northern Mystics
Bailey Mes GS, GA, WA Canterbury Tactix
Malia Paseka GS, GA Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
Grace Rasmussen WA, C, GA Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
Maria Tutaia GA, GS Northern Mystics

Notable past players[edit]

Kit suppliers[edit]

New Zealand's kits are currently supplied by BLK.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wilson, John (23 September 2007). "Government and nation – Wearing the silver fern". Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 17 September 2008. 
  2. ^ a b "Current World rankings". International Federation of Netball Associations. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  3. ^ "Aitken Unavailable, Silver Ferns with New Coach". 3News. Retrieved 11 October 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "History". Netball New Zealand. Retrieved 23 November 2007. 
  5. ^ "Pulse vs Melbourne Vixens ANZ Netball Championship" (Press release). Louisa Wall, MP. 5 April 2008. Retrieved 11 October 2008. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Coatsworth, Leona Mary (18 September 2007). "Basketball, Women's Outdoor". An Encyclopedia of New Zealand 1966 (A. H. McLintock, ed.). Retrieved 12 September 2008. 
  7. ^ "New Zealand in 1907 – Dominion status". New Zealand History online. Ministry for Culture and Heritage (New Zealand). 22 September 2008. Retrieved 23 September 2008. 
  8. ^ Silver Ferns Press Release (22 August 2008). "Silver Ferns Team Named". Scoop. Retrieved 27 August 2008. 
  9. ^ Granville, Alan (27 June 2005). "Silver Ferns v Australia history". Retrieved 29 September 2008. 
  10. ^ a b c "Silver Ferns History". Netball New Zealand. Retrieved 18 September 2008. 
  11. ^ Johannsen, Dana (19 September 2008). "Netball's long road to equality". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 23 September 2008. 
  12. ^ "Silver Ferns out rate All Blacks". 18 September 2008. Retrieved 30 September 2008. 
  13. ^ NZPA (12 October 2009). "Silver Ferns win World Series". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 12 October 2009. 
  14. ^ Leggat, David; Cleaver, Dylan (15 October 2010). "Golden Ferns win thriller against Oz". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2 November 2010. 

External links[edit]