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Party thrown to celebrate 16-year-old's appointment to Netball NZ Youth Board

NETBALL.

When Dipasha Narayan found out she had been appointed to the Netball New Zealand Youth Board (NNZYB) she threw a party for her family.

The 16-year-old Gisborne Girls' High School student moved to Gisborne less than a year ago and has already become an invaluable member of the Gisborne Netball Centre's youth activation group.

It was a surprise when Narayan got a call from Gisborne Netball Centre youth development officer Monique McLeod, who asked her if she wanted to take part. A friend had mentioned to McLeod that Narayan might want to be involved.

“Behind my success is Mons (McLeod),” Narayan said.

“She's helped and encouraged me. She's an awesome lady.”

McLeod said she was proud of Narayan and the growth she displayed through the year working with the youth activation group to create a beginner-friendly beach league for school students.

“Her application for the NNZYB appointment was evidence of this, and I couldn't be happier for her.

“This will be an awesome opportunity for her to continue developing her leadership skills, meet new people and share her voice on issues relating to youth netball in New Zealand.”

Growing up in Fiji, Narayan played netball but gave it up to focus on her studies. She was still throwing the ball around in her free time, and in New Zealand she took up the game again and engaged with sports administration and the youth activation group.

Narayan said she had to develop a balance between school and netball.

“My family is proud of me. I'm doing well at netball and I'm doing well at school.”

The NNZYB members have already had their first meeting over video chat to introduce themselves and start with their mission of developing a youth pathway to governance and leadership while also bringing the youth voice to the heart of operations and decisions.

The board consists of 12 members from around the country and was established in December 2019. Narayan is the only member of the board from Gisborne.

She said the board was already working on solutions to barriers to engagement for youth who want to play the game.

“Our why? Any problem you have, you can share with us.

“Some girls are too shy to wear the small skirts . . . some girls are uncomfortable playing mixed games with the boys.”

Dipasha Narayan. Picture by Paul Rickard