Netball WA and the Western Australian Department of Sport and Recreation this week celebrated the 10th National Aborigines (Aboriginal) and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Netball Carnival in Perth.
The event, which began after the creation of the Netball Aboriginal Advisory Committee (NAAC) in 2003, is held every year during NAIDOC week to celebrate and recognise the contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the community.
The annual event, which celebrates sport, culture and friendship, has continued to grow from strength to strength with a record number of teams taking to the courts at Noranda Netball Association on Wednesday 9 July.
Beginning with 20 teams in the first year, the carnival has tripled in size since 2004 with 66 teams from across Western Australia registered for the tournament this year, up from 62 teams just last year.
Liz Booth, Netball WA’s General Manager of Community, was impressed by the growth of the event, particularly filling courts at this year’s venue.
“The message is spreading wider and people are being encouraged to come down, not just for the carnival, but for the whole NAIDOC week,” Booth said.
From an ANZ NetSetGO division right up to five open divisions, the NAIDOC carnival has established itself as an inclusive event with a variety of entertaining activities.
Children can participate at the ANZ NetSetGO Activity Centre, families can enjoy an exhibition game held by the Wirrpanda Foundation over lunch and information about health and community services is available to players and spectators by Aboriginal Health Agencies.
“It’s about participation and creating a fun, family environment,” Booth said.
At the conclusion of the carnival, the NAIDOC All-Star team was selected: Laura O’Laughlan, Kaitlin Eades, Tikera Alone, Ebenee Davis, Lakita Kean, Kahsan Stack, Bailey Robinson, Kayla Dickie, Tahlia Garlett, Emily Lang, Kyarah Lowan, Tiffany Thorne.
The team of 12 children aged from 13 – 17 are invited to participate in development programs such as the Develop a Diamond Academy and Netball WA competitions before given the opportunity to trial in the 17/U and 19/U state teams.
“The NAIDOC All-Star team is a great initiative to get girls on the Netball WA pathway, many of whom have never trialled at the state level,” Booth said.
Despite the growth of the competition, Booth believes the carnival can develop more and hopes the message can be spread further to extend participation to other states and territories.
NAIDOC Week, 6 – 13 July, celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Picture courtesy of Netball WA.