Congratulations, you're in the Silver Ferns" - for most players, hearing those few words from a New Zealand netball coach is a dream come true.

But for former South African goal shoot Irene van Dyk, her selection in the New Zealand team was marred by controversy and bitterness.

In Changing Colours van Dyk, who rose to fame playing for South Africa in the 1995 World Netball Championships, talks about her decision to move to New Zealand and her selection in the Silver Ferns which raised eyebrows from many quarters including from some of her soon-to-be Silver Fern team-mates.

But the book goes deeper than just players and coaches bickering about van Dyk's right to play for New Zealand.

It follows van Dyk's journey from her childhood days on the family farm just out of Johannesburg to Lower Hutt in New Zealand, where she now lives with husband Christie and daughter Bianca.

Van Dyk talks about how her life in New Zealand is a far cry from South Africa, where her home was surrounded by high concrete walls topped with barbed wire, with every window and door covered by bars.

"Everyone walks around with guns. You are allowed to carry a loaded gun. Most women have a gun in their handbag," she says.

She speaks out about the deadly violence at the school where she taught, and her fears for her young daughter.

Written by Russell Gray, sports editor of Wellington newspaper the Dominion, Changing Colours gives a colourful insight into van Dyk's life, but is a little guilty of rushing through some parts, such as the whispers surrounding the retirement of Silver Ferns' captain Bernice Mene.

The book includes interviews and comments from team-mates and coaches and coverage of the national league and international tests.

Van Dyk's bubbly personality shines through, along with her commitment and dedication to the game which has made her one of the best goal shoots in the world.

Overall Changing Colours is an interesting and insightful biography which will appeal to all readers, not just sports fans.



* Julie Ash is a Herald sports reporter.