New Zealand Hoops – Q&A With Justine Reed

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What is your full name and where are you from?

My full name is Justine Reed (nee Tuhakaraina) and I am from Tauranga (Ngati Ranginui/ Ngai Te Rangi). I also whakapapa to Aitutaki through my grandmother.

What is your profession and how long have you been doing it?

I am a Chartered Accountant and currently work at Deloitte as an Associate Director- Tax. I have been working as a tax accountant for 17 years.  

How long have you had the Girls Got Game NZ page and why did you start it?

I started the page in 2015 for a few reasons:

·         Raise awareness/ promote our NZ female ballers

·         Provide advice/ information regarding the US college pathway

·         Provide inspiration for young girls who want to play basketball

·         Offer advice/ information to parents of female ballers

·         Advocate for women’s basketball in New Zealand

What involvement do you have with basketball today? 

I am currently the head coach for the NZ women’s 3×3 programme. I am also the assistant coach with Harbour Breeze, co-head coach (with Jody Cameron) for the Harbour U17 girls’ team and sit on the Harbour Basketball Board.

What school did you attend and did you play basketball?

I attended Tauranga Girls College and Sacred Heart Girls College in Hamilton . I spent my last year at high school as a foreign exchange student at Ramona High School in the States and then attended University of San Diego for four years on a basketball scholarship.

You are role model for young women, what advice do you have for them getting into basketball or coaching?

Be brave and take the first step. At the moment the sport is dominated by men/boys so it can be intimidating and opportunities are limited in some areas but if you love the game, you need to find a way. There are key women throughout the country that are willing to help so reach out. We are all very collaborative/ supportive and passionate about growing the women’s game so I believe are all happy to provide advice/support where they can.   

· Have to be resilient and weather the storms.

What was the highlight of your playing career?

Beating Church College once in the four years that I attend Sacred Heart. 

No, jokes aside, I would have to say that it was earning the basketball scholarship to University of San Diego. It was something that I don’t think I ever thought was achievable. I was a first generation university graduate so that was an accomplishment in itself. Being a student athlete taught me so much and privided me with lifelong skills that have helped me in my professional career and as a coach eg; time management, organisation and preparation, perserverance, resilience, and mental toughness. 

Who has been your biggest influence in basketball and why?

I would say that Mel Young was my biggest influence – when I was thirteen, he identified me at a tournament and spoke to my mother about sending me to Sacred Heart and from there I developed my love for basketball. He was also instrumental in providing me with the opportunity to go to the States for high school through his relationship with a foreign exchange programme. Once I returned from the States he also helped me in terms of identifying development opportunities when I moved into coaching and administration. He loved basketball and worked tirelessly behind the scenes to put New Zealand basketball at the forefront of everyone’s mind internationally. He did a lot for the game. 

Where do you see women’s basketball in the next five years? 

I think that women’s basketball is on the verge of a breakthrough here and worldwide. The increased focus on gender equality in sport will see more money and opportunities for women in all areas of basketball- administration, coaching and playing. In terms of the Tall Ferns, I see us cementing ourselves as one of the top 4 in FIBA Asia meaning we are regularly qualifying for World Cups and having a competitive international calendar. There is a strong Tall Ferns identification and development programme in place  At junior levels, our female participation rates are increasing and there is strong competition and opportunities for our girls to develop. 

Who is the ultimate women’s basketball player in New Zealand?

This is always a hard one to answer as there are so many factors that make up a basketball player. And there are many good women players in NZ. Each player has there strengths and weaknesses. But I would have to say that I think Penina Davidson is currently that player. I thought she proved that in the Olympic qualifiers last year where I thought she played extremly well. She was able to score with ease, defend players that were a lot taller than her and competed and played with great determination. 

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Published by Jesse Wallis

Basketball Journalist

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