The first of the three-weekend Kurangaituku Netball Tournament may be the more social of the competition but teams are still after the win.

The opening weekend of the festival of netball got underway at Rotorua's Westbrook Netball Courts yesterdaywith the first weekend of the 86th Kurangaituku tournament comprising of 150 registered teams competing in the C, D, E and F grades.

While the opening weekend is more social, with the top senior teams playing next weekend, there is no doubt that when on the court, the players are going for the win.

Pāpāmoa's Chloe Murray is competing at the tournament for the fourth time and said she looked forward to it every year.

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"We're just a group of friends and we come along every year as an end of season kind of thing. [The atmosphere] is always really good, really positive and everyone's really nice on and off the court," Murray said.

Pāpāmoa's Molly Stiven (left) and Ngongotahā Mareikura's Shannon Kingi-Fraser contest the ball during the opening day of the Kurangaituku Netball Tournament. Photo / Stephen Parker
Pāpāmoa's Molly Stiven (left) and Ngongotahā Mareikura's Shannon Kingi-Fraser contest the ball during the opening day of the Kurangaituku Netball Tournament. Photo / Stephen Parker

"[The organisers] set really strong guidelines and expectations, so I think everyone follows that really well."

Murray's teammate Melissa Powell is playing in the tournament for the first time and said it was even bigger than she expected.

"To come here and be a part of it for the first time is really fun, I'm really enjoying myself.

"With Chloe being my best friend, they needed an extra person and I've played my whole life so it was a given for me to come. I love it," Powell said.

"Everyone is really positive and supportive. I've fallen over a couple of times today and the girls are always right there to help me up. You don't always get that back home in Tauranga - it's really cool."

Ngongotahā Mareikura play in the tournament every year and player/manager Virginia Kennedy said it was a good way to celebrate the end of another season of Rotorua club netball.

"It's good for our fitness and health, as well as having fun. It's pretty good seeing everyone, of all different levels playing," Kennedy said.

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The trophy which teams in the Kurangaituku A Grade hope to see their name on. Photo / Supplied
The trophy which teams in the Kurangaituku A Grade hope to see their name on. Photo / Supplied

"The tournament is organised well, I'm happy with everything so far. We get given the whole draw so it's all set out for us, we know where we're at."

Erena Mikaere, who signed for the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic for this year's ANZ Netball Championship, is currently sidelined with a dislocated ankle but still found time to support the tournament she grew up playing as a Rotorua local.

She was on the sidelines as part of the Lead the Cheer team, encouraging positive sideline behaviour.

"It's a really good tournament, it brings heaps of people from all over which is good for Rotorua. I've played nearly every year, even came back and played in a high school reunion team, and I was going to play next week, if I wasn't injured.

"The tournament has a bit of everything, it's fun, it's competitive, it can be social if you want it to be. You look around and people have their marquees set up all around the courts, I love it."