Anania Piri, Simone Nicholas, Daimzel Rongokea, Tia Henderson and Marei Nicholas were all chosen in July to be a part of the inaugural academy programme which will see the girls based in Auckland for six months.
During their first week the girls took part in a variety of team challenges and bonding exercises that included archery, orienteering and beach games, which brought out each of the girl’s competitive spirit.
The Cook Islands girls are involved in the programme alongside players from Tonga and Samoa and are all living in a house that was available to them from the CEO of High Wire Charitable Trust David Hopkins.
Living in the same house allows the girls to learn valuable life skills and how to be independent during their time away from their families.
As part of their second week the girls finally got into their netball and fitness training sessions, which were run by current Northern Stars mid-courter and member of the New Zealand under-21 side claimed the World Youth Championships title last year, Fa’amu Ioane who pushed the girls physically and mentally.
Ioane joins academy mentor Sulu Fitzpatrick who is a former Silver Fern and current Central Pulse defender who will be helping the girls both on and off the court during their time in Auckland.
The girls are currently training together as a group for their up-coming match against the New Zealand secondary schools team to see how the match up against a different style and physicality the game will bring.
The academy aims not only to provide specialist netball coaching and fitness training, but also to empower young women with life skills, leadership abilities and academic knowledge.
When the girls complete their time in New Zealand, they will have gained both a Work Place First Aid course and a New Zealand Certificate in Sports and Recreation, both of which are internationally recognised qualifications.