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Teams set to test the waters at Ōtaki pre-season

Fine-tuning will be the staple focus for all teams when they assemble for the sixth edition of the Te Wānanga o Raukawa hosted ANZ Premiership pre-season netball tournament in Ōtaki on February 17 – 19.

With the early start to the national league this year and consequently a tight pre-season, there has been little wriggle room, leaving the popular tournament, which involves 13 games (4 x 12-minute quarters) over three days, taking on extra importance.

``With it being a couple of weeks out from the start of the season, this tournament is massive for us, not so much in sighting the other teams, but just checking ourselves,’’ Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie said.

``We’ve got to come away from that tournament with clarity around what our structures are and within that clarity, are they relevant, are they going to work?

``For me, the main focus is that each player comes away with real clarity and confidence about one, themselves and what they need to do, and two, about our team strategies.’’

The coach has a variety of personnel and playing options at her disposal but will only run combinations that would genuinely be run in the ANZ Premiership.

``Historically, we’ve never been a chopping and changing kind of team, so that will remain,’’ she said. ``We need to see them get match fitness and that ability to run the task out for periods and for a combination to have time to get things wrong and get things right.

``For us, it’s really about court time. That’s really important because we haven’t had a lot of game time. It’s definitely about combinations, having time and people having time on court in a combination that will run in ANZ.

``We’ve had a few players out with niggles and the odd Covid piece, so there’s been a lot of return to play and managing loads that’s been going on, but that said, we’re tracking towards everybody being available and that’s something to be grateful for.’’

In a unique experience, all six teams – Pulse, Northern Mystics, Stars, WBoP Magic, Tactix and Southern Steel, including management, officials and umpires (numbering over 200) – will be accommodated at the Te Wānanga o Raukawa campus in Ōtaki, north of Wellington, for four days.

All matches will be played at the Māori Tertiary Education provider’s health and fitness facility, Ngā Purapura with time for all involved to embrace and enjoy the special significance of the cultural engagement which includes a pōwhiri for all teams and officials, cultural activities and living together on the marae.

``We’ve enjoyed this partnership that has brought the pre-season tournament to Ōtaki for five years before unfortunately having to be cancelled last year because of Covid,’’ tumuaki (CEO) of Māori university Te Wānanga o Raukawa, Mereana Selby said.

``It has become a feature on the calendar for the Ōtaki township and is a special time where we get to welcome high performance athletes to our small community. It’s great for our young aspiring players as well as the wider netball community.

``We see this as a unique experience for players, not just New Zealanders, but also the import players and we appreciate the way in which they embrace the language and the culture when they’re with us.’’

Whakaata Māori has partnered with Te Wānanga o Raukawa to provide free and live access to all 13 games this weekend for viewers in Aotearoa and internationally.

Download the MĀORI+ app or check out other ways to watch:



Friday, February 17

Pulse v Magic – 9am

Tactix v Mystics – 10.30am

Steel v Stars – 12pm

Magic v Mystics – 4.30pm

Pulse v Tactix – 6pm


Saturday, February 18

Steel v Pulse– 9am

Stars v Mystics – 10.30am

Magic v Steel – 3pm

Tactix v Stars – 4.30pm

Mystics v Pulse – 6pm


Sunday, February 19

Mystics v Steel– 9am

Magic v Tactix – 10.30am

Pulse v Stars– 12pm

Media Advisory: Any media/photographers wishing to attend the event will need to register on site.



For media enquiries and interview requests, please contact:

 Jane Hunt | Media & Communications Manager 
E: [email protected] 
T: +64 21 107 0287