Draw whatever conclusions you may on the Silver Ferns' collective gains following the Northern Netball Quad Series in England but there's no denying individual attainments.

"I think growing as a player," said Kimiora Poi shortly before arriving in Napier via Auckland yesterday morning.

That sense of development for Poi stemmed from the high-octane scrimmaging with fellow New Zealand representatives in her debut stint.

"Then there's just coming up against tough opposition when there's no weaknesses on the court and you're against your own man so, yeah, it's just a harder competition."


The Kiwis, under the tutelage of coach Noeline Taurua and her assistant, Deborah Fuller, lost to the England Roses and the Australia Diamonds before eking out a double overtime victory over South Africa.

The 21-year-old Canterbury University student became the first Bay netballer to represent her country at the senior level since Margaret Elliott in 1960.

The late Rona McCarthy (nee Tong), of Hastings, was the first in 1936 when nine-member teams used to take to the court. The late Gladys Symes (1937), Ruth Butcher (1939) and Elliott followed in the footsteps of the ex-Hastings Netball Centre patron McCarthy, who died seven months short of her 100th birthday in February 2016.

Jodi Tod, of Waipukurau, came agonisingly close to becoming a Silver Fern in 2008 after Charlotte Kight had done the same in 2006.

Tod, who had moved north to Tauranga in the mid-2000s to play for the Waikato/BOP Magic, had taken her culling from the 16-player squad on the chin with the heralding of the then 21-year-old newcomer, Katrina Grant, for the two home-test series against Australia.

Poi said although the Silver Ferns got home by the skin of their teeth in England, the culture of the touring group was infectious.

"I wasn't feeling nervous or intimidated. Everyone was so welcoming so even though the results didn't go our way I felt we're on the way to a good place," she said.

On the court, it had dawned on the former Napier Girls' High School student how difficult it could be to snaffle possession when on the front foot.


"On D [defence] you just have to go for the ball and have the confidence in yourself," she said, smartly coming to the realisation the elevation from Fast 5 and age-group internationals was everything she suspected it would be.

Her mother, Roanne, and father, Bill, had initially indicated they weren't going to be able to travel to England to see their daughter make her debut as Silver Fern No 174.

However, they surprised Poi, who has been likened to former international linchpin Temepara George.

"It was pretty cool to have them in the crowd," she said. "I think they were pretty proud."

She had looked across in time to notice Roanne had a tear in her eye when God Defend New Zealand was played before the game.

It was pretty special for Kimiora Poi to have parents Roanne and Bill watch her make her Silver Ferns debut against England in Liverpool. Photo / Supplied
It was pretty special for Kimiora Poi to have parents Roanne and Bill watch her make her Silver Ferns debut against England in Liverpool. Photo / Supplied