NSW netball icon and current NSW Swifts’ contracted defensive specialist coach, Mo’onia Gerrard has today been named as one of four finalists for this year’s NSW Premier’s Woman of the Year.
Mo’onia, 33, has been nominated not only for her sporting prowess, but for her mentorship of girls in sport.
Proudly NSW, Mo’onia is a veteran of 181 elite domestic games and has represented her country on 68 occasions. Mo’onia is currently taking a break from playing elite netball to pursue her long-standing Rugby Sevens Olympic dream.
In addition to her work on the court, Mo’onia is hugely passionate about providing leadership and mentoring to girls throughout NSW, particularly those from diverse communities.
With the support of Netball NSW, Mo’onia created the Oceania Netball Cup in 2012 which provides an opportunity for girls from Polynesian background to come together for two-days of fun, exercise and camaraderie.
In its augural year 25 teams participated, and in 2013 the event grew in both size and popularity with over 30 teams taking part.
In addition to the Oceania Cup, Mo’onia regularly gives her time to clubs, schools and community groups throughout the State, talking to them about diversity, nutrition and how to deal with bullies.
“I was shocked to hear the news that I was a Finalist but extremely honoured to have received such an acknowledgement,” said Gerrard.
“To even be in the same company as these three inspiring women is truly humbling.”
“Growing up, there were not too many Islander girls taking up sport seriously. I wanted to teach girls from different backgrounds to be proud of who they are and where they come from – be yourself, be unique,” Gerrard said.
Netball NSW Chief Executive Officer Carolyn Campbell said this nomination was acknowledgement for an inspiring woman.
“I’m delighted for Mo’onia, this recognition is richly deserved, not only is she one of this country’s finest athletes but her giving knows no bounds,” Campbell said.
“Mo’onia is passionate about inspiring young girls to become the best they can be, and we are proud to support her endeavours I this area, particularly in running the annual Oceania Netball Cup.”
The Premier’s Woman of the Year will be announced at a ceremony on Friday 7 March, 2014.