It was a magical surprise for a Bay grandmother as 50 of her family members joined her to watch the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic and Northern Stars netball match last night.
Julie Te Rei-Lawson, 73, known as Nanny Miss to her family, got the chance to attend the premiership game at ASB Baypark Arena with 50 of her whanau thanks to the ANZ Netball Grant Scheme.
The scheme rewards netball clubs, teams, schools, and fans around the country.
In her grant application, Julie said that it was her heartfelt wish to have her 30 mokopuna and 25 great-grandchildren attend an ANZ Premiership game with her.
An ANZ spokeswoman said Te Rei-Lawson, who is from Hicks Bay in the Gisborne district, had dedicated most of her life to the sport, not only as a representative player at high school but as a scorer, coach, manager, driver, umpire, bench official, secretary and treasurer, the spokesperson said.
Attending netball games became more challenging after she suffered a stroke a decade ago, leaving her in a wheelchair.
Before the match started, the grandmother was surprised when 50 members of her extended family, who had travelled from around the Bay to be there, joined her on the netball court.
Te Rei-Lawson said it was a "wonderful" surprise and quite overwhelming.
"Having most of my family together like this normally only happens at funerals and it's been an absolutely mind-blowing and I'm so grateful to ANZ which made it possible.
"Instead of being a peanut butter nut, I'm a real ANZ netball nut, and closely follow the [Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic] team which of course I want to win. I nearly wet myself with excitement."
Te Rei-Lawson said she wanted the Magic team to win, but as long as both teams fought hard and it was a clean game, that was all that mattered.
The ANZ spokeswoman said: "Julie's application stood out because she has dedicated her life to netball and she has passed on her passion for the game to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren."
Te Rei-Lawson cheered her grandchildren on from the sidelines when she attended their weekly games, the spokeswoman said.
"ANZ wanted to do something special for her to serve as a thank you for her commitment to the game, and the inspiration she has provided to her family and teammates."
ANZ also provided custom-made Team Nanny Miss T-shirts and catered a halftime function for Julie and her family.