For the first time in decades, the hugely popular Kurangaituku netball tournament has had to be cancelled in Rotorua due to the effects of Covid-19.

In a Facebook post, Netball Rotorua secretary Mary Thompson said many hours of thought had gone into the decision to cancel the tournament, in its 87th year, for 2020.

"We know so many teams come to these tournaments to meet up with friends, play good netball and have a great time but with all that has happened and is happening in our world just now, we feel it is the safest decision.

"We can assure you that we will come back bigger and better in 2021."

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Many people commenting on the post said they understood and respected Netball Rotorua's decision and would look forward to seeing them at the 2021 tournament.

Speaking with the Rotorua Daily Post, Thompson said she could think of only one other time the tournament had been cancelled since its inception in 1933.

"It was cancelled in 1945 due to the war and there may have been one other occasion where it had to be cancelled due to a flu epidemic, but certainly not in recent years.

"It was a hard decision for us to make but it was unanimous. Netball New Zealand has cancelled all its tournaments so we figured if they did, we should too."

Thompson said a message had been sent to each of the individual teams and Netball Rotorua had received positive feedback.

"Everybody understands and feels we have made the right decision.

"We were worried that if we cancelled this year, teams may not want to come back next year but everyone has said they would be back which is reassuring."

Despite the tournament no longer going ahead, Thompson said the organisation was hopeful to start a local netball season in July.

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She said Netball Rotorua expected to get a directive from Netball New Zealand about running local netball on May 11.