Netball New Zealand (NNZ) has launched a five-year project with four other Pacific countries to strengthen and enhance the development of the sport within the region.
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.
As part of the scheme, NNZ will also provide infrastructure, support and specific equipment for any teachers, volunteers and coaches on board.
It is hoped that Fiji earning the rights to host the 2021 Netball World Youth Cup will accelerate the development of the sport there.
“It really is about looking at the bigger picture and what it will take to see growth in all of those areas," said NNZ chief executive Jennie Wyllie.
“While the partnership aims to support both girls and boys to be active, the netball initiative is likely to have a greater focus on girls.
"Research shows if you invest in women, you invest into society.
“We want to target teachers and volunteers who are new to coaching and help provide the necessary infrastructure."
New Zealand Rugby is also planning to deliver a similar rugby-based programme in the four nations.