While Mangonui senior rugby hovers on the edge of the abyss because there simply aren't enough good men willing or able to put their hand up to take on the thankless task of refereeing, many instead preferring to gripe from the sidelines at each and every decision made by an official, 11 young netball girls in Kaitaia have quietly gone about acquiring their Centre Umpire Badge.
Mangonui netball commentator Tui Kapa noted that every season, Mangonui netball put a batch of umpire candidates through their paces with the aim of seeing them qualify for this highly coveted badge.
"Producing skilled netball players in any centre requires quality umpiring so supporting these officials is an important component of Mangonui's strategy," said Kapa.
"The next phase of their journey is to fine-tune those skills and incorporate more of the specific details required to successfully control top-level netball games."
She also gave special mention to New Zealand umpire Deb Nathan for coaching students from Pukemiro Kura towards their qualification.
"The students don't play netball but have dedicated their time to help Mangonui accomplish a successful competition. With the 2013 season coming to an end, netball in 2014 is already looking good for the northern peninsula."