Hundreds of family and friends gathered at QBE Stadium, Albany, this afternoon to celebrate the life of former Silver Fern Tania Dalton.

The popular netball international and TV commentator collapsed while playing touch rugby two weeks, after suffering an internal carotid artery aneurysm.

She remained in a critical condition at Auckland Hospital for six days, before family made the painful decision to turn off life support at 1.26pm last Tuesday. Dalton, 45, passed away peacefully the following morning.

Sky commentator Scotty Stevenson, acting as master of ceremonies, opened the service with a welcome and explanation of the significance of the time 1.26pm - a combination of family birthday dates.


The service featured 10 eulogies, including former Silver Ferns captain Bernice Mene and former netball commentator Andrea McVeigh.

"No one, and I mean no one forgets Tania Dalton," Stevenson remarked, before introducing Father Phil Sullivan, the Dalton's family priest, to speak.

Dalton's three brothers, supported by their father, spoke to the gathering of their active and determined younger sister.

"When God was handing out the sports genes Tania sidestepped the three of us and took the whole lot," Dalton's brother Tony explained.

Dalton's friends from her school years, from primary to Carmel College, took to the stage to speak fondly of their "cheeky, irreverent Tan."

James addressed the crowd on behalf of Dalton's great friends.

He spoke of an "amazingly strong friendship" and an inseparable decade the pair spent together.

As she prepared to share her tribute, Mene told the audience that the event felt bigger than any test match she had ever played.

Mene spoke of the twinkle in Dalton's eyes being her earliest memory of her team mate.

As she emotionally explained she would miss her friend's "beaming smile and huge hugs," Mene also remarked how "stoked" Dalton would be with so many from Netball NZ in the crowd.

Stevenson spoke of Dalton's relationship with her husband as "two spinning planets who collided and when they did they pulled everyone in to their combined and powerful gravity".

A friend of the Dalton's, Scott Pritchard, took to the stage on behalf of Duane's friends and spoke of the pair becoming "best friends before they became lifelong partners".

Other friends spoke of Dalton's infectious smile and ability to make friends everywhere she went, including at petrol station forecourts.

Daughter Tayla, and sons Charlie and Matt were joined on the stage to pay their respects with the help of their father.

The heartfelt stories continued, as Matt said that his mother had been the best thing he had ever had.

The gathering farewelled Dalton by singing her favourite song, Sweet Caroline, as she was taken for a final champion's lap of the stadium.

The Dalton family has established a charitable foundation in Tania's name - The Tania Dalton Foundation - in support of sports training and development for underprivileged children.

Dalton leaves behind three children of her own - daughter Tayla, and sons Charlie and Matt.