First male netball player to secure a major sponsor - PUMA

By Taroi Black

NZ Men's netball captain Kruze Tangira becomes the first male netball player to be signed with major sports giant PUMA.

"I still can't put it into words what this actually means to me," he says.

"To be signed with PUMA which is such a global brand who has signed up people like Lewis Hamilton for instance. It's pretty incredible and I'm so thankful."

PUMA signed the mid-courter as an ambassador given there's a huge interest in the market for netball both in New Zealand and Australia.

However, while he welcomes the signing being the only male netball player in the world to be picked up by a major sponsor, there's still a lot to be done to support male netball players.

Over the years, the sport has seen an increase of young boys playing netball nationwide. In Canterbury, 71 kids, all boys, participate at grass-roots level. But it stops at Year 8 which has impacts on them continuing in the game.  

Tangira says once male netball players reach the elite level, it's difficult to find support in order to develop their game.

If it wasn't for PUMA he'd have to pay for his own training gears and travel expenses to tournaments across the country and overseas.

Last year, Tangira and his teammates who represented New Zealand at the Cadbury Netball Series in Palmerston North were fortunate enough to get everything covered for them after securing their first major sponsorship deal with Manawatu Sports. 

"When a brand like PUMA comes across and wants to sponsor and support you in your endeavours and your journey, it means so much to me. 

NZ Men's netball newly appointed president Junior Tana was delighted to hear the news that Tangira got the regonition he "deserves". 

Tana has been part of the association for men's netball for almost 20 years and sees the opportunity of elevating the sport by branding it's name. 

"Our NZ Mens team doesn't have its own marketable name like White Sox or the Silver Ferns, but we're working on a name to market our team as we speak." 

"We're still deciding what kind of names our team would suit for example "Black-bibs" or "Black-nets" has been mentioned." 

Te Ao Maori News has reached out to PUMA for comment.