Kimiora Poi will become the first Māori netballer to captain the Trident Homes Tactix since the club started in 2008.
The 24-year-old midcourter follows in the legacy of Silver Ferns stalwarts who previously led the club. such as Julie Seymour, Maree Bowden, Anna Thompson and Jane Watson.
“I feel quite honoured. It's quite a special moment,” she says.
“Not many people get to say they are a captain of an ANZ Premiership team.”
The ANZ Premiership 2022 season will see Poi head into her fifth year with the team.
For most of her childhood, she was brought up in Tikitiki, a small settlement in rural Ngāti Porou, on the East Coast, North Island, before moving to Hawke’s Bay.
She headed south to the Tactix in 2018 after playing for Central in the former Beko Netball League.
However, Otautahi has now become her second home, helping to elevate the sport and develop her skills as a class act centre in the Mainland netball zone of Canterbury and Tasman regions.
Poi will take over the reins from Watson, who will miss New Zealand’s elite domestic league after announcing her pregnancy and is excited to get straight down to work today against the Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse in the first of two pre-season hit outs at Mainpower Stadium in Rangiora.
But Poi never thought for a second she’d become a captain. Because of that, she hopes her leadership role will pave the way for future aspiring Māori netballers.
“I can bring more Māori within our environment, being a role model for young Māori girls and boys.”
“Growing up, it didn't matter where you came from. Anything you want to do, you can do it.”
Highs and lows
Her claim to fame was making the cut for the Silver Ferns side, with eight test caps to her name, winning the Nations Cup in the UK last year against England, Jamaica and South Africa, and her star performance earlier this year – winning the Constellation Cup against the Australian Diamonds.
It hasn’t been an easy road to get into the Ferns, as New Zealand head coach Dame Noeline Taurua has worked on multiple combinations in the midcourt, providing more options for national selectors.
In that time, Poi has experienced highs and lows. “I'm not going to lie, it's been hard,” she says.
She was dropped from the Ferns initially named in the New Zealand Development Squad. But, she was called back into trial for the team before the Taini Jamison Trophy against England during this lockdown.
That said, her new role for the Tactix will no doubt boost her confidence to make the national side.
“Everyone goes through this sort of thing in their career. I guess it's the way you react and respond in terms of what you're going to do next.”
“We're all skilful enough, fit enough. It's whoever will stand up will get it.”
Poi will also have support from the Tactix leadership group, which includes new vice-captains Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Karin Burger.
Tactix head coach Marianne Delaney-Hoshek said she was delighted to confirm Poi’s new role at team training this week and was looking forward to what the midcourter would bring to the position.
“From the outside, Kimi can come across as one of the quiet members of the team, but she has been such an important voice within the Tactix. She’s always had leadership potential and she lives the Tactix values to the fullest,” Delaney-Hoshek said.
The Tactix were grand finalists this year. But if they win the premiership, Poi’s team will make history for the club.
“I’m really excited for Kimi to have this opportunity and, while she’ll bring a different style to the role, she has so many key values – she is a straight shooter, really strong at motivating others and leads by example.