Netball star Maria Tutaia has been out of high school for a decade - but that didn't stop her from donning her old school uniform for a special occasion.

The 27-year-old Silver Fern was back at Mt Albert Grammar yesterday to be inducted into the school's Hall of Distinction for services to netball and the school.

She becomes the first woman to be included on the list and said it was an honour that she was hugely proud of.

"To be the first woman and the first Pacific Island woman ... it feels like this massive explosion of pride," she said.


"It motivates me and it motivates my family to keep going. If it can instil some kind of light to kids to work harder at their goals, then I'm happy."

Tutaia had been at Lynfield College throughout high school and decided to transfer to Mt Albert Grammar in her final year, in 2004, for netball.

The school - which had only started taking in girls in 2000 - proved to be the stepping stones to her success; captaining the school's Premier Netball team and being named in the NZ U21 World Youth Cup team that went on to win the title in Florida in 2005. That same year she started for the Silver Ferns for their tour in Jamaica.

Tutaia's relatives and fellow netballers Paula Griffin and Jenny-May Coffin were among the guests at yesterday's ceremony.