Home' The Wellingtonian : November 24th 2011 Contents 10 THE WELLINGTONIAN, NOVEMBER 24, 2011
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Talk to us first about a
at an amazing rate of
Wellington second time around
Joseph Romanos talks
to former New Zealand
netball captain Sandra
Edge about Wellington
in the 1980s, living in
Southland and Irene van
Sandra Edge: ''She [Irene van Dyk] is a once-in-a-lifetime player''.
Photo: JOSEPH ROMANOS
This is your second stint in
Wellington. How are you
I was here in the early 80s,
training to be a dental nurse. I d
come from the east coast and it
seemed like a big city to me, but
accessible. There wasn t the vibe
and energy that there is now. My
life was more limited then -- flat,
netball courts, dental school. But
we created our own fun and had a
good social life.
How has Wellington
The waterfront is great, and the
cafe scene is so big now. I don t
remember it being like that 30
years ago, or maybe I didn t go to
cafes. There s really a lot to do in
Wellington now. Funnily enough,
the sport was very vibrant 30
You've moved here from Gis-
borne. That's a big change.
Yes, we shifted to Gisborne
thinking we d stay two years and
stayed 11. We miss the free range
of Gisborne and the living space.
But Wellington has other
You're a qualified school-
teacher. What job are you
doing in Wellington?
I applied for a teaching position,
but didn t get it. I work for Netball
Wellington Region, with school
and club coaches, trying to give
them support. Also I coached the
Wellington under-15 team. That
was a highlight of the year for me.
And you're based at the
sports centre in Kilbirnie.
What a fantastic complex. I m
no expert, but it seems so state-of-
the-art to me. It s light and there s
so much space. There are bus
timetables on a screen in the cen-
tre, blue lines to the bus stop, a
cafe. And they aren t precious
about it being used. It s a com-
munity asset and the emphasis is
on use, use, use. Kids can go
there, hire a basketball and play
some hoops. Apparently there was
some debate about the centre, but
from my viewpoint it s wonderful.
You've been working along-
side Wai Taumaunu, your old
New Zealand team-mate.
It s been great to catch up with
Wai and her family. In a work
sense I ve
organisational ability and the way
she structures the job. She s the
Silver Ferns coach now, but I have
a feeling we ll still be stuck with
her a lot of the time!
Do you see many of your old
From time to time. There s
always a nice bond between us.
How does netball now com-
pare with your day?
The leading players in my era
trained very hard and were very
skilled. But today everyone in the
squad is at that physical level, or
better. There s more analysis now
-- use of stats, video and so on. The
game is more physical, but they
play indoors. I can t imagine the
players would be able to survive
on asphalt, taking the tumbles
they do now.
What do you remember
about your test debut, in 1985?
I d trialled before and missed
out, so was really happy to be
picked. That joy was tempered by
[coach] Lois Muir warning me
that getting picked was the easy
part, and that now the hard work
began. We were playing at the
Australia Games in Melbourne. I
was surrounded by all these
tough, experienced players. I just
wanted to catch the ball and pass
it to a team-mate without any
drama. In the final, against Aust-
ralia, I marked Jill McIntosh, who
became one of their best coaches. I
especially enjoyed the Australia
Games, in that it was a sports fes-
tival, like the two World Games I
played in later.
What do you think of Irene
When you can play 200 tests
and keep developing your game
like she has, that s phenomenal.
She has a 65-centimetre standing
jump and has developed that over
the years. Irene has a gorgeous
face, but that masks a fierce com-
petitive temperament. I admire
the consistency of her shooting
accuracy, the way she has con-
stantly been available, her mental
and physical strength -- she is a
You struck her at the 1995
world champs, when you were
captaining New Zealand.
She was playing for South
Africa then and they beat us. She
never missed a shot in the game.
You're married to Rodger
Gray, a former New Zealand
football captain. How did you
Through my brother, Thomas.
They were football team-mates
What's the main sport in
I would say football, followed by
cricket. But netball gets a good
You have two boys. Not
much chance of a netball leg-
It s the way in netball. Marga-
ret Forsyth has four boys, Ruth
Aitken two boys, Leigh Gibbs two
boys, Wai Taumaunu two boys
and a girl, Sharon Gold three
boys. Some of the shooters have
had girls, though.
I was surprised to learn
you're an honorary citizen of
I am and have a shield to prove
it. I lived there for a year in the
early 90s. The weather was a
shock. The first week was nice,
then it got really cold. I was doing
a clinic at Otautau and had to
stop because my lips froze. How-
ever, I loved my time in South-
land. The people were great and I
got to go fishing in Foveaux Strait,
and explore Southland.
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