In 1998 the Coca Cola Cup began with Waikato being known as the Wildcats and Bay of Plenty being known as Magic. The two Regions saw the benefits of merging in 1999, the year Netball New Zealand went to a 12 Region structure. Anchor had been the sponsor of Bay of Plenty Magic and remained with the newly formed Waikato Bay of Plenty Netball Franchise Limited until 2000 when the changes to Fonterra, saw an end to what had been an excellent long term sponsorship partnership.
The Magic Team has had first class coaches with Lyn Gunson (Parker) beginning with the Bay of Plenty and then having a year with the newly formed Magic. Alison Wieringa, formerly the High Performance Manager for Wales and now NZA Coach Tracey Fear, Netball New Zealand’s High Performance Manager were co coaches in 2000. Ruth Aitken who had previously coached Cometz and was the Trust Waikato Coach was appointed to the role for 2001/2 with Noeline Taurua as her Assistant. With Ruth’s appointment to the Silver Fern Coach in 2002 Noeline stepped up to coach the Magic Team and in 2003 coached the side to their best placing ever at Number 3. In 2004 Magic were coached by Nicole Dryden who had been the Coach of the Smokefree Championship winners Trust Waikato in 2003. The Assistant Coach was Karen Henrikson a former Silver Fern and Trust Waikato Assistant Coach during Ruth Aitken’s term.
The Franchise has always had a strong core of loyal and talented players in Amigene Metclfe, Jenny May Coffin, Renee Jacobsen, Jody Tini, and Jolene Henry. In the 2003 National Bank Cup Irene Van Dyk joined the Franchise as a result of an independent organizations’s recruitment for Waikato and the Franchise. Leana Du Plooy followed and both players went on to be part of the winning Silver Fern World Netball Championship Team in Jamaica.
The 2004 team was captained by Jenny May Coffin who played her 46th game for the Franchise. Joline Henry and Irene van Dyk were selected for the Silver Ferns for the Fisher & Paykel Series; Leana du Plooy and Anna Senior for NZA along with Laura Langman who has also been chosen as captain of the NZ Under 21 Team and is joined by team mate Casey Williams in this side. Laurelle Borck began the year in the Under 21 Squad. The 3 other players who made up the team were South African International Liezel Wium; Commonwealth Bank Trophy and NSW player Katrina Anderson; and Renee Jacobsen a former NZA player. This team earned the right to the first ever home semi final and under the new semi final system finished fourth.
The Franchise has also had a Development Team that has enabled more players to experience the hype around the National Bank Cup for the last four years and Hikitia Gallagher from Netball Bay of Plenty coached this group of emerging players for two seasons prior to Rhonda Wilcox taking over in 2004. That year’s team saw Hayley Stockman selected in the NZ Under 21 Team; Evelyn Horomia selected in the NZ Secondary Schools Trans Tasman winning Team; and Laura Macdonald and Megan Grey in the NZ Talent Identification Squad.
The Winning of the National Bank Cup 2005
2005 saw the return of Noeline Taurua into the coaching role for the Magic Team and the Scottwood Magic Development Team was coached by former Silver Fern, Rhonda Wilcox. A new beginning was the Magic Big Day Out which was held in January and led by the former All Black Coach John Mitchell.
This was an amazing year for Magic. A clean sweep in the pool play rounds gave Magic the chance to host a home semi final. In Semi Final One against Force, Magic won but with no suitable venue available for the Final they were forced to go to Invercargill to play the match. Media and public interest around no home venue being permitted under NNZ rules was overwhelming and so intensified feelings about Magic supporters being denied what that had rightly won. Such was the feeling about the situation Magic organized a charter to carry family, media and supporters to the match.
The impact of the charter was huge and while Sting fans welcomed all 136 into the stadium with a standing ovation the team drew inspiration from this. The comprehensive 65 to 39 Magic win saw the National Bank Cup come north for the first time to the delight of so many fans and supporters. The Magic Team did not only win the National Bank Cup in emphatic style but also finished the season with 6 players having been recognized in the Silver Ferns – Irene van Dyk, Anna Senio, Amigene Metcalfe, Laura Langman, Joline Henry, and Casey Williams. Laura and Casey were also members of the NZ Under 21 Team that won the World Youth Championships in Florida, USA.
A New Year, A New Team, A New Championship
The weight of expectation was huge in 2006 and for the team this was the biggest challenge when it came to the on court performance. It was a new team with four who had not been there before (Liana Barrett-Chase, Nicola Cooney, Evelyn Horomia & Tanya Lund) and while Kiri Adams, Rebecca Gabel and Arahi Wall returned for their second year and Irene van Dyk, Laura Langman, and Casey Williams remained Silver Ferns with Joline Henry starting the season close to being one, there was a new dynamic in the 2006 team. Dame Susan Devoy led the Magic Big Day Out for 2006.
Getting to the Final was not as straight forward as it had been the previous year and the losses to Diamonds and then Force meant that in the end the calculators determined the semi finalists. The semi final in Invercargill against Sting gave Magic the chance to control their own destiny and win the right to a home final at Mystery Creek which was available for the first time ever. The chance to play Sting at home in the Final in front of the largest National Bank Cup crowd ever was fantastic for the team who had searched for form and found it at the end of the season. Mystery Creek was pumping and again Magic nailed home each play to win by 67 to 43. Joline Henry joined the other three Magic Silver Ferns for the Series in Australia and Tanya Lund and Liana Barrett-Chase went to Australia with the Silver Ferns as training partners.
The Franchise is unique in that it is able to draw on the strength of its Regions. The regions make a substantial contribution annually to the Franchise not only as shareholders but also as the Event Managers for the Home Games that have been held traditionally in Hamilton, Tauranga and Rotorua.
In 2012, arguably the most exciting year for the Magic, the team clinched the ANZ Championship title – the first Kiwi team to have done so since the new competition format began. Following four losses in the first four games played in the season, the team went on to win every remaining home and away game including the Grand Final in Melbourne against the Vixens.
The increased television exposure for the team and individual players has seen Magic continue to attract sell out crowds to home and away venues. Membership clubs and fan groups continue to thrive as the team thrills crowds on both sides of the Tasman.
2013 marks another milestone for the Franchise with a new naming rights partner, Kia Motors, a new Board and a new structure. The team, known as Kia Magic, will take the Franchise into its next phase with a goal to retain the ANZ Championship title. There continues to be a great deal of excitement about the future of the Franchise both on and off the court.