The New Zealand national netball team, commonly known as the Silver Ferns, represent 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. 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.

The Silver Ferns compete annually in 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 are also the reigning Commonwealth Games, winning the two most recent titles 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. The team are presently captained by Laura Langman after incumbent captain Casey Kopua née Williams became injured. Waimarama Taumaunu is the current head coach after former coach Ruth Aitken retired in 2011.


Introduction of netball to New Zealand[edit]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]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 defenderLois Muir.[4]

The international game[edit]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 EastbourneEngland. 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]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]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 inAuckland.[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]Edit

Netball World Championships
Year Championship Location Placing
1963 1st World Championships Eastbourne, England [1] 2nd place
1967 2nd World Championships Perth, Australia [2]


1971 3rd World Championships Kingston, Jamaica [3] 2nd place
1975 4th World Championships Auckland, New Zealand [4] 3rd place
1979 5th World Championships Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago [5]

Joint 1st

1983 6th World Championships Singapore [6] 2nd place
1987 7th World Championships Glasgow, Scotland [7]


1991 8th World Championships Sydney, Australia [8] 2nd place
1995 9th World Championships Birmingham, England [9] 3rd place
1999 10th World Championships Christchurch, New Zealand [10] 2nd place
2003 11th World Championships Kingston, Jamaica [11]


2007 12th World Championships Auckland, New Zealand [12] 2nd place
2011 13th World Championships Singapore [13] 2nd place
Netball at the Commonwealth Games
Year Games Event Location Placing
1998 XVI Games 1st Netball Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia [14] 2nd place
2002 XVII Games 2nd Netball Manchester, England [15] 2nd place
2006 XVIII Games 3rd Netball Melbourne, Australia [16]


2010 XIX Games 4th Netball Delhi, India [17]


World Netball Series
Year Tournament Location Placing
2009 1st World Series Manchester, England [18]


2010 2nd World Series Liverpool, England [19]


2011 3rd World Series Liverpool, England [20] 2nd
Netball at the World Games
Year Games Event Location Placing
1985 2nd World Games 1st Netball London, England [21]


1989 3rd World Games 2nd Netball Karlsruhe, Germany [22]


1993 4th World Games 3rd Netball The Hague, Netherlands [23] 2nd place


2012 Silver Ferns[edit]Edit

Name Positions 2011 ANZ Championship team
Leana de Bruin GK, GD Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
Jodi Brown GS, GA Southern Steel
Anna Harrison GK, GD, WD Northern Mystics
Camilla Lees WA, C, WD Central Pulse
Laura Langman (Vice capt.) WD, C, WA Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
Bailey Mes WA, C, GA Northern Mystics
Anna Thompson GA, WA Canterbury Tactix
Maria Tutaia GA, GS Northern Mystics
Irene van Dyk GS, GA Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
Kayla Cullen GD, WD, C Northern Mystics
Catherine Latu GS Northern Mystics
Casey Kopua (Capt.) GD, GK Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
Shannon Francois WA, WD, C Southern Steel
Grace Rasmussen GA, WA Northern Mystics
Julianna Naoupu GA, GS Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit GD, GK Central Pulse
Katrina Grant GK, GD Central Pulse

Notable past players[edit]Edit

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