Alumni stories

Alumni Profile – Olivia Anderson

Westland High School alumna, Olivia Anderson (class of 2011-2017), competed at the Open European Korfball Championships from 30 March to 1 April this year. This was after only being introduced to the sport for the very first time in 2014 as a Year 10 student.

“When I was in Year 10 my class had a ‘taster’ of Korfball as part of our PE class. I really enjoyed it at the time…it was different and exciting but there wasn’t really enough interest from the students for it to continue.

“I thought that was the end of it but, then, in December 2016, I received a letter from Korfball Canterbury inviting me to trial for the New Zealand under-19 training squad. Around the same time, enough interest had developed across Westland that we had enough players to compete in the 2017 South Island Secondary Schools Tournament where we placed fourth.”

Olivia made the under-19 training squad and travelled to Christchurch on a monthly basis to train with the team. In March 2018, she got the opportunity to compete in the 3-day Open European Korfball Championships which were held in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands.

Olivia and her teammate Aylah Peterson from Greymouth were billeted in a small town called Nijeveen by a local family.

“It was a crazy experience. It was my first time overseas and I was travelling without my family. But they made me feel so welcome and treated me like their own family. They had a little girl and I taught her a bit of English and she taught me a bit of Dutch. It was really cool.

“The tournament was fun. We placed ninth overall after playing Portugal, the Netherlands and Catalonia in our pool matches as well as Brazil, Poland and an invitational team from Holland.

“On the last night of our trip we got to travel to Amsterdam and attend the Netherlands’ National Korfball Finals. It was held in this three level stadium that was packed with people. We stood in the supporters’ area and next to us people were chanting and singing throughout the whole competition. The atmosphere was electrifying. It was a very surreal experience.

“To be honest, I’m still buzzing from the whole trip! I’m really grateful that I got introduced to the sport at Westland High School otherwise I may not have had this amazing opportunity.”