Used uniforms to be given to Cook Is

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The North Otago Netball Association is starting a new initiative that will provide children with netball shoes and send unused netball uniforms to New Zealand’s neighbouring islands.

North Otago Netball vice-president Rihi Salter and executive committee member Abbey McKenzie said there are plenty of unused uniforms that could could be put to good use in other less fortunate countries.

“We realised that all the clubs within North Otago Netball have unused uniforms packed away in boxes, so we thought, why not do something with them,” said Salter.

“We thought we could do a big bundle and send them over [to the Cook Islands].

“New Zealand has always had a good relationship with the Cook Islands, so it’d be good to help out our neighbours, and then there’s other netballing islands like Fiji and Niue, but the Cook Islands is a good starting point.”

McKenzie said the association also intends to help local players, by providing youngsters with footwear for netball.

“A few years ago I was coaching at various schools and I noticed how many kids didn’t have correct footwear, so I started collecting and put it out there for people to start donating their old netball shoes.”

McKenzie, an occupational therapist by trade, said correct footwear is important in the prevention of injuries and felt the introduction of the uniforms initiative offered of good opportunity to reintroduce the local initiative.

“I still see a huge need for it, so when it came about the uniforms I brought up the shoes for local kids,” she said.

“If you’re not wearing correct footwear, you run into development problems with your body, so it’s important.”

The association intends to have a drop box for netball shoes at Oamaru Sports and Outdoors, 223 Thames St, for the duration of the netball season.

By James Ford

PHOTO: JAMES FORD – North Otago Netball vice-president Rihi Salter and executive committee member Abbey McKenzie.