Just over a year on from the passing of local Shore identity and former Silver Ferns netballer Tania Dalton, the first scholarships have been awarded by the foundation set up in her memory. Tania’s passing on March 1st 2017 shook the North Shore community as well as the wider New Zealand sporting community. She was a much loved and vibrant personality who touched so many. It is fitting that the Tania Dalton Foundation has been set up to honour her legacy. Trustees of the Tania Dalton Foundation are former Silver Fern Bernice Mene, Scott Pritchard (CEO, Precinct Properties), Tania’s brother and lawyer Tony Nicholson, Steve Jurkovich (GM Business, ASB) as well as Tania’s husband Duane Dalton.
The inaugural 2018 Tania Dalton Foundation scholarship recipients were:- Isla Norman-Bell (Touch Rugby; Rugby – Auckland); Mahina Paul (Touch Rugby; Rugby - Whakatane); Holly Stewart (Tennis – Auckland); Lucy Makaea (Surf Life Saving – Auckland); Samalulu Clifton (Surf Life Saving – Auckland); Dhys Faleafaga (Rugby – Wellington); Renee Holmes (Rugby – Gisborne); Ainsleyana Puleiata (Netball – Wellington); Theresa Ngata (Netball – Auckland); Leah Mafua (Basketball – Wellington); Sharne Pupuke-Robati (Basketball – Auckland).
Aidan Bennett caught up with Duane Dalton just after these scholarships had been presented in March to find out more about the Tania Dalton Foundation.
AIDAN BENNETT: How did the formation of the foundation in Tania’s name come about?
DUANE DALTON: Sport has always played a huge part in New Zealand society. However, for many families, the cost, practical considerations and access to support, coaches and role models can represent a significant barrier. For some families, the ongoing financial and practical support of their talented child’s sporting aspirations can be extremely challenging or in some cases just not possible.
Tania will be remembered for an incredible sporting legacy, as one of New Zealand’s favourite sporting personalities. She was a naturally talented athlete who backed it up with guts and heart as a player and a team mate. Even more than her sporting success though, she will be remembered for how she lived every day. She lived as we might all strive for – never on the side line, always in the action, bringing her A-game as standard… with a big heart and an easy smile, sucking the juice out of life.
Tania believed in the power of sport to teach young people how to be our best. That the rules of the game help guide us on and off the court or the field.
The Tania Dalton Foundation has been established to ensure Tania’s passion for sport and for helping others lives on.
Nelson Mandela said “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.”
This quote epitomizes the Foundation.
AB: What are the criteria for youngsters to be eligible for a scholarship?
DD: The scholarship programme is initially focused on supporting young females who are very talented at their chosen sport and able to demonstrate a significant level of financial and/or circumstantial hardship to be eligible for an award.
We are looking for young women who demonstrate leadership and role model qualities, are hardworking and committed to excellence and have a desire to become the best versions of themselves that they can. Most importantly, we are looking for the willingness to ‘pay it forward’.
AB: Will there be a set number of recipients each year?
DD: Each year we will award 12 scholarships for a period of three years. Ultimately we will run a rotation of 36 girls. It is also expected that past receipients will become part of the Alumni and expectation is that they give back – and pay forward.
AB: How do you plan to source applicants and select recipients each year?
DD: In the early stages we have gone to six sporting codes that have had a close connection to Tania or the family, and from there narrowed down the process. This has been a function of limited resource at our end in the early stages. Down the track we will look to open this up nationally, and across multiple sporting codes. We will then also pair with suitable mentors, based on needs and goals.
AB: The scholarships are for three years and go well beyond just financial support I understand. What will a scholarship recipient receive from the Tania Dalton Foundation?
DD: Tania Dalton Foundation’s scholarship programme is all about delivering a mix of financial and pastoral support of mentoring that levels the playing field for young sports women with plenty of potential who have financial and/or circumstantial hardship. The aim is to help them to realise their full potential, develop as a person and make a difference in their communities, schools or church groups. This will help them to enjoy the benefits and skills gained through competitive sport such as goal setting, working as part of a team, self-esteem and camaraderie.
During the scholarship, there is an expectation that Tania Dalton Foundation scholarship recipients will ‘pay it forward’ in some way. For example, coaching a junior sports team, talking to a group of aspiring young sports people, volunteering or mentoring a younger Tania Dalton Foundation scholarship recipient.
AB: Tell us about choosing and presenting the first scholarships this year.
DD: The process this year was directed through the respective NSO’s (National Sporting Organisations). Each NSO was asked to put forward four or five suitable applicants and from there a panel of trustees and the GM (Ant Ford) finalised and interviewed the lucky recipients. Upon being awarded they were invited to the opening day in the new Tania Dalton Foundation offices behind Pita Pit Takapuna where they went through a busy day of activities, personality mapping and media/social media training. The office was generously fitted out by Grassroots Community Trust. The awards evening capped off a great day. Bernadine Oliver Kirby MC’ed the event while Lisa Carrington was the guest speaker. During the evening and awards the girls were partnered with their sponsors, and so began a journey that will hopefully see the girls growing on many levels and ultimately becoming the best versions of themselves.
AB: Your lives have been turned upside down since March 2017. Has this process of setting up the foundation been rewarding for the family – yourself and Tayla, Charlie and Matthew?
DD: Setting this up has been a chance for the kids to further see the reach their mother had, and given us all a chance to give back and help where we can. The kids got a chance to sit with me when we rang the successful recipients and it was a great way for them to see how much it meant.
AB: Will the work of the foundation go beyond just providing the scholarships?
DD: The scholarships are currently just the first silo that the Foundation is looking to operate into. Ultimately we will be looking to run school programmes, after school programmes and holiday programmes. These will come in time as the funds grow. We have visions of helping hundreds if not thousands of youth annually.
AB: I understand you have received strong support for the foundation already. If there are others out there who wanted to contribute in any way, how can they do that?
DD: There are many ways to help and even since the awards dinner we have had top businesswoman looking to help in various areas and new sponsors wanting to come on board. Should someone want to consider how they could help they should contact Karen, our Programmes Manager (details below).
AB: Complete the following…
DD: Our ambition for the Tania Dalton Foundation is to… unleash Epic potential through Epic support.
For further information contact Karen Morgans: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.taniadaltonfoundation.org.nz