Reply To: HISTORY OF THE NETBALL WORLD CUP2020-03-27T08:16:16+10:00


Ian Harkin
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    From Netball NZ
    Profile of Joan Harnett (NZ), player of the tournament

    Radio interview

    From the NZ Herald
    World Beating Silver Ferns – PERTH 1967

    Joan Harnett-Kindley was the original glamour girl of New Zealand netball, but there was far more to her than met the eye. Her aesthetics and athleticism led the sport into a new era. When New Zealand claimed its first world netball title in Perth in 1967, Harnett – as she was then – turned the crucial match against Australia with her peerless shooting. The Cantabrian, New Zealand’s premier netballer, was the official player of the tournament, contested by eight teams in a round robin.

    These were days when snippets of local netball tests might be squeezed in at half-time during the televising of club rugby, and Harnett says there was no coverage from Perth. “Our win was very obscure and women got very little recognition in sport then. It was my passion to sort that out,” she says. The national team had to raise some of their own funds. “Once we took our raffle tickets down to the Lyttelton wharves on pay day, all the pretty young girls in the team,” she says. “We picked up quite a bit of money that day from the wharfies. I had to keep an eye on the team, though, to ensure everything was A1.”

    Netball’s amateur code didn’t help and could, quite literally, shoot itself in the foot. Footwear providers Skellerup wanted Harnett in television commercials. Netball said it was the whole team, or none at all. A shot of Harnett’s unidentified shoe-clad foot was used instead. “I should have written JH on my shoe. The rules were absolutely pathetic,” she says. “I was a pioneer and I had a bit of God-given luck (looks-wise). I could achieve things for netball because of that. I got netball extra recognition which I was very pleased about.”

    Harnett had been in the 1963 side, which, after six weeks of boat travel, contested the first world tournament in England, where they lost by a point to Australia. A core of the 1967 team was spurred on by that loss. They were fighting fit in Perth after a 10-day build-up in Christchurch, including sessions with a national rowing trainer. One Perth report declared that Harnett’s “five glorious goals in rapid succession” got New Zealand home by 40-34 after they trailed Australia by one going into the last quarter. Harnett says interceptions by team mates were the basis for victory.

    The young Harnett was a bank worker who practised shooting in lunch breaks. She became a real estate operator, and now lives in Wanaka with her husband Don Kindley. Harnett-Kindly, 64, is out of the real estate business, but on the licensing board. Tennis is her active sporting love, although netball remains her passion.

    “Perth was a great coming together of countries and people. I still correspond with players from the other teams,” she says. “It seems a long time ago, and yet I can see it all in my mind’s eye. When you win a world championship for the first time, you never forget. That team was as good, if not better, than the 1987 team. If they had played each other, it would have been the best game of netball ever.”

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