Casey Kopua (Williams)
1999 to 2003
This young lady has put Matamata on the map! Captain of the New Zealand Silver Ferns and rated as the best defence in the world! Casey carries a lot of responsibility. From a netball family – Mum, Aunties, Sisters – all of whom attended Matamata College, this young star was born. Casey had so much talent, plus being blessed with height and a great physique, that from a very young age she was destined to go places!
Casey played in College A from Year 10 (4th Form) firstly as a goal shooter, then in her preferred position – defence. Casey was lucky to have ex-New Zealand player, Anne Taylor (Downey), as her coach while at school. During her school playing days, College A made it to the National Secondary Schools’ Championships. This is where she was first recognised as a highly talented player and was selected in the “tournament team” in both 2002 and 2003.
Every sports event at school Casey was to the fore. Athletics was another area where Casey excelled – especially the high jump. She stopped the show with her record breaking attempt!
Casey could have made it big in volleyball but had made the choice to pursue netball - good choice! Anything at all sporting, Casey participated in.
At school she was sportswoman of the year 2002 and shared the award with NZ Shooting Representative Natalie Curtis in 2003 and won the Millennium Trophy for the most outstanding all-round sportsperson in both 2002 and 2003.
On leaving school Casey attended Wintec in Hamilton gaining a Diploma in Sport and Recreation, and is currently studying for a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science Degree. With her commitment to netball Casey hasn’t had sufficient time to complete her degree, but it is certainly on her “Bucket List!” While at Wintec she was sportswoman of the year for four years, 2006/07/08/09
Casey has been very loyal to Waikato and the Magic Franchise, playing every year in her home province. She started with the Magic in 2003. Magic has won the title on four occasions in the ten years Casey has been part of the team. In both 2009 and 2010 Casey was Waikato Netball “netballer of the year.”
The professional New Zealand/Australia League commenced in 2007. Magic have played in the final on five occasions - not quite able to knock the Aussies off No 1 spot. Casey was “player of the series” in 2009 and was awarded a Holden Captiva for this achievement.
In 2005 she was part of the NZU21 team which won the World Youth Championship.
She was first selected to play for New Zealand in 2004 and the following year made her test debut against Barbados in the Caribbean. Since then she has toured England, Jamaica Australia, Singapore, India, and Fiji, played in two Commonwealth Games (Melbourne and Auckland) and two World Championships (Auckland and Delhi). Casey has two gold medals as Commonwealth champions, both in very exciting circumstances. No-one will ever forget the double overtime win in Delhi in 2010. Similarly we will never forget the devastating one goal loss in the 2011 World Champs in Singapore – Aussie again the nemesis.
Casey has played 64 test matches. She was officially announced as the captain of the Silver Ferns in 2009 and has captained the team on 30 occasions. Her inspirational play and leadership have gained her high praise. Casey is still only 25 years of age and has many years of netball in her which New Zealanders and locals are delighted about.
Casey has been honoured on the Queen’s Birthday Honours List with an Order of Merit Award in 2011 – at the same time as her current New Zealand coach Ruth Aitken.
Casey is proud to have attended Matamata College. She thinks it is a great school that provides lots of opportunities in sports, academic and cultural activities. She loved her five years here and says Matamata has been a great place to grow up – a farm girl at heart!
Casey’s two sisters and her brother all attended Matamata College. All were outstanding sportspeople. On leaving school Rhys played rugby in Canterbury and he is now a family man (2 kids) and farming. Jan-maree is teaching in Auckland and rugby is her passion – she is still playing and younger sister Lynaire has graduated from Waikato University with a double degree and is teaching PE. Mum and Dad continue to farm in Matamata. How proud they must be!