A development programme has been launched in Fiji by Netball New Zealand (NNZ) as part of a five-year project aimed at strengthening the sport in the region.
NNZ chief executive Jennie Wylie said the governing body were pleased with the uptake in the "NetGO" initiative in the Pacific country, one of four which is benefitting from the programme along with Cook Islands, Tonga and Samoa.
Legendary New Zealand player Irene van Dyk, who made 145 appearances for her country, travelled to Suva last month to help launch the scheme.
Van Dyk delivered a training session targeted at the school physical education curriculum, before the first Oceania Foundation coach accreditation workshop, which focused on educating teachers and volunteers with fundamental skills for coaching the sport, was held.
Over 80 teachers took part in the workshop.
In the new year, each school of the participating teachers will receive a set of netball kit under the development programme.
"We want to increase awareness about healthy lifestyles and educate young people how to do this through physical activity and making healthy choices,” said Wylie.
“The prime focus has been about a healthy lifestyle and education, and Fiji has embraced the two training programmes.”
NNZ will work with the Cook Islands, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa to tackle a range of subjects such as promoting a healthy lifestyle and boosting participation rates in order to eventually leave the countries with a self-sustained system.
The partnership was suggested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade within the New Zealand Government.
The initial focus of the programme will be on local schools, where healthy lifestyle and sports participation will be promoted.