Netball: Magic's parade turn out was 'incredible'

By Genevieve Helliwell of the Bay of Plenty Times -
Khao Watts, Elias Shadrock and Jess Tuki of the Magic during the parade in Tauranga today. Photo / CHristine Cornege
Khao Watts, Elias Shadrock and Jess Tuki of the Magic during the parade in Tauranga today. Photo / CHristine Cornege

Tauranga came to a halt today as a celebration parade in honour of the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic netball team weaved through the central city.

Tauranga City Council hosted the street parade for the team, which won the ANZ Championship against the Melbourne Vixens.

The team was the first New Zealand netball team to win the prestigious trophy.

Devonport Rd closed for the parade, which was led by dozens of young netball players from Western Bay schools.

Hundreds of people lined the streets while many more came out of their central city offices to clap, whistle and cheer as the team passed through the city centre.

Captain Laura Langman said the reception in Tauranga had been overwhelming.

"Today has been amazing. This has been a really good opportunity for us to give back to the fans. We've received so many messages, emails and faxes and even though we can't reply to every one, being able to do something like this means we can celebrate the day with our fans. The day is all about them," she told the Bay of Plenty Times.

Langman said winning the ANZ Championship made her feel "on top of the world" but it was the support from people in Tauranga and the greater Bay of Plenty and Waikato regions which left a lasting impact.

"Seeing this is just amazing, it doesn't really get better than this," she said.

The parade travelled from First Ave, down Devonport Rd to Edgewater Fan, where a small celebration was held. Magic chief executive Sheryl Dawson introduced each player, before Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby spoke to the team and offered his congratulations.

"A little bit of magic has come to town. It's a great day not only for Tauranga, but for the whole Bay of Plenty and Waikato."

At the end of the ceremony, Langman had a message for young netballers.

"This is what you've got to look forward to. Keep up the training and work hard because there's no words that can describe these moments."

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