Pink ladies get physical

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Meet the Wakatipsies – they’re Queenstown’s colourful entry in the Golden Oldies World Netball Festival.
Their dazzling uniform matches their post-game treat of Pinky bars and Lindauer Fraise.

And they aim to be remembered for off-court antics rather than skills during the international competition starting in the resort on Sunday.

Mid-court player and Queenstown councillor Vanessa van Uden says her 10-strong team – some of whom hadn’t played netball till a few months ago – are entering in the week-long event’s spirit of “fun, friendship and fraternity”.

“The whole principle was that as locals, we needed to go hard and get into the spirit of it and be prepared to be a bit out-there.”

The Wakatipsies will be decked out in pink retro gear – complete with legwarmers.

They’re also planning a spectacular pre-game warm-up – an aerobic-themed routine set to Olivia Newton-John’s Let’s Get Physical.

“Our compulsory end-of-each-game [ritual] is a Pinky bar and a glass or two or three of Lindauer Fraise.

There’s no water.

“You’ve got to do that if you’re the Wakatipsies, don’t you?” Van Uden laughs.

“With decorum and responsibility, of course.”

Needless to say, they hope to take out prizes for best personality.

Three players, including Van Uden, have been regulars during Queenstown’s winter netball competition.

To ensure the other team members could “catch the ball”, she says the team began playing social indoor netball during the past couple of months.

“It’s a reasonably big ask when you haven’t done it before. But they’ve done amazingly well.”

The Wakatipsies will play in the social category – the competition also has a more serious section – and will play nine games in three days.

Quick passes
What: Golden Oldies World Netball Festival
Players: 500
From: Five countries
Veterans: 10 are aged 70-plus
Oldest: Auckland’s Marigold Hadfield, 76
When: Opening ceremony – 6pm Sunday. Finishes November 7
Game days: Monday, Wednesday, Friday