Adelaide Thunderbirds superstar Maisie Nankivell recently travelled to Papua New Guinea (PNG) as part of the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Team Up program.
Nankivell was given the opportunity to meet with locals, immerse herself in their culture and work with coaches, children, and schools. Experiences were vast and different, ranging from the fundamentals of netball to exploring valuable life skills.
“I hope that by me being over there and sharing my experience, they have dreams to someday play netball at the highest level and know that it’s possible to do so, no matter who you are and where you come from,” Nankivell said.
“It was my first time over in Papua New Guinea and it was great to be able to experience their culture and fully immerse myself in their way of life,” Nankivell said.
Nankivell attended the Team Up Hamamas lo Pilai (HLP) participation clinic at Boera Primary School in Hiri West.
While at the school, Nankivell delivered a fun and interactive education session where children learnt how to be more effective with verbal and non-verbal communication.
She was also the guest of honour at the Team Up HLP end of program tournament at Barakau Primary School in Hiri East. Six schools came together to celebrate their achievements of the previous six-weeks of being challenged in developing their netball skills and learning positive health and hygiene practices.
As a final thank you, each school received much needed netball equipment and Origin Australian Diamonds memorabilia.
“It was such a rewarding experience and to put a smile on each of the kids’ face, it was the absolute highlight of the trip,” Nankivell said.
The other component of the Team Up program is the ‘Come and Play’ program. This is a shorter version of the HLP initiative and is a collaboration between Netball PNG, Netball Australia and WaterAid PNG that aims to create a supportive environment for young people to learn, share, and develop life skills through sport.
As part of this, Nankivell helped students from Special Olympics PNG to further develop their netball skills.
In addition to Team Up activities, Nankivell also helped deliver a variety of other Netball PNG activities. Nankivell helped Netball PNG’s National Coach, Gimanama Crowdy deliver an intensive training session with PNG’s national netball team the Pepes.
Players commented on the dynamic way that Nankivell moved on the court and how important it was to be exposed to international players of Nankivell’s calibre.
Gimanama Crowdy also delivered a coach education workshop for 30 of PNG’s aspiring coaches. Nankivell demonstrated skills and supplied guidance on important tactics within international netball.
Netball PNG were generous hosts and held an afternoon tea in honour of Nankivell at their President’s Ulato Avei’s ‘Koke Hanua’ conference centre by the sea. HLP coaches were in attendance, and it was an opportunity for them, Netball PNG, and Netball Australia to show thanks and be grateful for the dedication shown during the delivery of the HLP program.
The Team Up program supports partnerships across the Pacific to use sport to bring people together, champion inclusion and create opportunities.
The HLP program seeks to engage adolescent girls and boys between the ages of 10 to 16 on topics related to self-confidence, communication, leadership, and hygiene. This learning is integrated with netball and play-based life skills activities.
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