The husband of former Silver Fern Tania Dalton says his wife's teammates will be looking to celebrate her life in style when they tip off their World Masters Games campaign today.

A dozen Kiwi netball stars will take to the court on day one of the largest multisport event in the world, which has more athletes than the Olympics.

Almost 25,000 athletes from 100 countries - including more than 10,000 Kiwi competitors - will be in Auckland for the 10 days of competition.

Dalton, who represented New Zealand on the court for more than a decade and played provincial netball for the Northern Force and Southern Sting, tragically died aged just 45 last month several days after suffering an aneurysm while playing touch rugby.


Before her death the goal shoot had planned to compete in the World Masters' Games with a group of friends - including fellow former internationals - who she'd played with in a College Rifles Old Girls team.

Her husband Duane told the Weekend Herald the team was part of his wife's "phenomenal network of high performing friends" who had supported the charity.

"They want to celebrate everything that was Tania, so not only will they be highly competitive on the court, they'll be out their having a lot of fun, a huge amount of laughs and I really think they're doing her proud in terms of how they conduct themselves out on court."

Team manager Lauren Arndt said Dalton and her friends - a dozen ex-netballers over the age of 40, including ex-Silver Fern Anna Stanley and former Auckland player Kelly Rattray - wanted to compete in the games' netball tournament so that their kids could watch them play and so they could have a laugh together.

The team was going to be called the Masters of the Universe, but after losing their Goal Shoot and friend the women decided to rename themselves the "TBags" - a nickname of Dalton's, Arndt told the Weekend Herald.

"It just evolved into 'let's make this more of a tribute to her'."

The TBags had spent a lot of time together since Dalton's death, including supporting her husband Duane when Pita Pit - the business he and Dalton co-owned with friend Chris Henderson - launched its new free-range menu on Wednesday.

Kiri Wills, Duane Dalton and Anna Stanley together for The Dalton Foundation in memory of netball player Tania Dalton. Photo / Doug Sherring
Kiri Wills, Duane Dalton and Anna Stanley together for The Dalton Foundation in memory of netball player Tania Dalton. Photo / Doug Sherring

Former Auckland Diamonds player Nicky Cattermoul said they wanted to support Dalton's family in anyway they could.

In the lead up to the tournament the team had been fundraising for the Tania Dalton Foundation - a charity which Duane formed to honour her legacy. Arndt said they wanted to raise another $2000 by collecting money on the sidelines at the Games this week.

Duane said the Tania Dalton Foundation aims to give "young women an opportunity to be the best people they can be through the vehicle of sport".

"It's set up to assist challenged women, ultimately so they can go on and be the best version of who they are.

"It's [for] people that still have a chance to make a real difference and kick on in their lives and then grow and support and assist others."

The foundation was inclusive - woman athletes from all sports' codes could apply for support and it didn't have a specific age cut off for who qualified as "young".

"For us the word 'challenged' was deliberate because it doesn't necessarily mean financially disadvantaged - it may be through the loss of a parent or a brother or sister, it could be through a poor upbringing", Duane said.

The World Masters' Games' netball tournament begins today at the Auckland Netball Centre in St Johns. The TBags will play their first match at 9.30am on Court 8.
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