The indoor netball club nationals is a prestigious event recently held last weekend in west Auckland. A competition of seven grades, it caters to players of all ages. Pauline Stokes of Ngāti Whātua, Te Aupōuri and Te Rarawa says it is a competition of the best of the best in NZ.

“All the best teams from around NZ competing to be the best in NZ.”

Named in the NZ Indoor Netball 30s and Over Ladies team, Stokes describes indoor netball as a sport that is focused on developing younger players.

Pauline Stokes who was named in te NZ Indoor Netball 30s & Over Ladies team says the sport is about developing younger players to see how it is played at a national level.

“My team is a developing team, they are more here to experience, considering majority of them have not played at national level, so we wanted them to observe what it is like to play at national level.”

The Premier grades and Over 30s have stayed stagnant over the years however there has been a surge in numbers for the Under 19s and Under 23 grades. The veteran player says the sport is a fast one, and quite intense.

“The intensity is very high and it’s very serious. In comparison to other sports that I have played, indoor netball is very intense at the most top level basically.”

Stokes says the sport also is good for whakawhanaungatanga (building relationships).

When I first started playing indoor netball there was a sense of whānau and community that you really don’t necessarily see in other types of sport and everyone comes together and supports each other. I guess the sense of comradery bringing all types of people from different whānau's, different backgrounds different iwi it's a good thing about it.”

In October, Stokes will tour to South Africa for the World Indoor Netball Association.