Kia ora koutou Gene Potae Whanau
I have never forgotten where mens netball all started, and the many people who helped start our great sport off back in the early 80's. They are the people, without whom mens netball would not be where it is today. Gene Potae was very much a major part of the development of mens netball in New Zealand. She was a past President, Secretary and Treasurer. She was one of the colourful characters of mens netball. A person who once you met her you never forgot her. There are many, many fond memories that I, and NZMMNA have of Gene. One of the special times was when Nationals was held in Otago for the very first time in the early 90's. What a nationals, and Gene was very much there in full flight, colourful as ever offering lots of advice, lots and lots of advice….lol and plenty of encouragement. She left an instant impact on Otago Mens Netball and it proved to be one that helped develop the sport in Dunedin.
Gene was the true meaning of loyal. Her commitment and loyalty shown to Opotiki Mens Netball is second to none. She was a fierce supporter in the days when it was Opotiki vs Canterbury. These were fabulous netball days. She also showed this same loyalty to New Zealand Mens Netball. She gave her heart and soul to our sport. I am personally very grateful to her for everything she has done for us. I am also very grateful to have known her as a friend. I remember when I was deciding if I should stand for NZ President. She said to me “you stand, you will be good for our sport”. But Gene, it is you, and many before you that have been good for our sport. You were part of our foundation, our legacy. One that will never be forgotten.
I apologize for not being with you today. Rest peacefully Gene and remember you will always hold a very special place in the heart of NZMMNA heart and in my own. I will think of you today and in many more days to come.