Tayla Dalton says late mother Tania ‘biggest inspiration in my life’ as she pursues sporting success

You could say, sport runs in the Dalton family.

The 16-year-old has excelled in both basketball and surf life saving. Source: 1 NEWS

The late Tania Dalton had a netball career spanning over 10 years and played 12 Tests for the Silver Ferns.

It's almost a year and a half since her mum passed away from a brain aneurysm but now, daughter Tayla is making a name for herself.

She was a finalist for the Under 16 Sportswoman of the Year at the Northern Region Surf Life Saving Awards.

"It's just such an awesome sport that I’ve been surrounded by my whole life, my dad was a very well-known legend for it, but it's awesome to be surrounded by the water, surf just creates the coolest people," Tayla said at the awards.

Andrea McVeigh spoke on behalf of those who worked alongside Dalton in the commentary box. Source: Supplied

The 16-year-old is part of Mairangi Bay Surf Life Saving Club on Auckland's North Shore, a club she describes as a privilege to be a part of.

"They've had our backs since day dot and as a family we're very fortunate to be surrounded by cool people."

Mairangi Bay is also home to Black Fin Danielle McKenzie.

McKenzie was the first New Zealand woman to win an open individual title at the 2018 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships and is someone Tayla looks up to at her club.

"She's almost like a big sister but then at the same time, completely a role model," Tayla said.

"I totally aspire to be like her and she's absolutely killing it over in Australia."

But it doesn't stop at surf life saving for Tayla.

She's just been in Belarus representing New Zealand in the Under 17 Basketball World Cup, along with other sporting commitments.

She admits her schedule can get a bit hectic.

"I'm getting home at 10 most nights; I eat a lot of food. My poor family have to deal with me when I'm a bit tired."

Speaking of family, there's someone missing from her support crew but Tayla says she still feels her mum's presence every day.

The bubbly 45-year-old was fondly remembered as popular, feisty and just a little bit crazy. Source: 1 NEWS

"She'd love to be here having a few wines tonight but I know she'll be here with us.

"She's honestly the biggest inspiration in my life and I'm very lucky to have her watching over me each day."

Story by 1 NEWS Sport producer Maddy Lloyd