There will be widespread delight at news today that Mount Maunganui's Sheryl Dawson has been made a Member of the NZ Order of Merit in the 2014 New Year's Honours List.

She has single-handedly done more to promote the game of netball locally and nationally than perhaps any other sports administrator but her telling legacy was to bring a professional approach to a very amateur game.

Dawson was the consummate professional in every role she so ably filled locally, nationally and internationally.

Her list of achievements in New Zealand netball may well never be surpassed.


She held numerous netball administration roles in the Tokoroa, South Waikato and Bay of Plenty Coast Union from 1975 to 1986 and coached intermediate and secondary school netball teams from 1975 to 1997.

In 1998, Dawson took leave from her role as a secondary school associate principal to run the Vodafone World Netball Championships held in Christchurch a year later, which led to her becoming the International Federation of Netball Associations president and board chair for four years from 1999 to 2003.

She was a member of the bidding team for Netball New Zealand to host the 1999 World Championships and became a member of the International Netball constitution committee and chaired the International Netball rules rewrite committee.

From 1990 to 1998 she was Netball New Zealand's international delegate and an executive board member. She was CEO of the World Netball Championships from 1998 to 2000 and ran Netball Bay of Plenty from 2001 with unbridled enthusiasm. Perhaps the role she will be most fondly remembered for was chief executive of the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic franchise from 2003 to 2012.

Dawson's time with the Magic came to a dramatic and sad end when she was ousted from her role as CEO in November 2012 after a restructure at the franchise. This despite the Magic winning the ANZ Championship and Dawson securing a new major sponsor.

Also thoroughly deserving are our other Bay locals in the honours list.

Congratulations to you all.