New Zealand Hoops – Q&A With Helen Richardson

What is your full name and where are you from?

Helen Richardson, I grew up in Nelson and have lived in Christchurch, Palmerston North and now Tauranga is home.

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

I’m lucky to be employed in the sports industry for the past 14 years. I’m the Support Coordinator for Tauranga City Basketball, which I’ve been in for just over a year, but spent 13 years at Basketball Manawatu.

What is your involvement with basketball today? 

Involvement is firstly my job. I’m lucky to be able to get back into coaching after a break for a while.

Why did you choose the game of basketball?  

I played every sport when I was younger, but started playing basketball at Primary school, I would go with Mum to her games at the YMCA in Nelson and be one of the kids shooting during every break when I could. Through Mum’s friends we met Trevor Wright who taught the fundamentals and from there I’ve been hooked.

What school did you attend and did you play basketball?

I went to Nelson Girls College, was fortunate in my first year of playing to make the school A team. Went to Nationals in Dunedin, sat on the bench for most of the season, ended up as runners up to Sacred Heart Hamilton

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

Give it a go, you don’t know until you try it whether you will enjoy it. Enjoy the opportunities the game gives you, whether it be playing, coaching, refereeing or the friendships that you make.

What has been the highlight of your basketball career?

Highlight as a coach has been being involved in the NZ programme back in the day. As an administrator seeing and helping Secondary School Nationals grow to where it is now, with games being televised.

Who has been your biggest influence in basketball and why?

I’ve been fortunate to meet some amazing people through basketball. Janie Granger (Nelson), Wendy Workman (Palmerston North) & Maree Taylor (BBNZ) are all people who have influenced me in different ways with how they ran or run associations, competitions and tournaments.

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

There are some amazing NZ female players in the game but Kalani Purcell stands out for me.

What can be done to improve women’s basketball even though it’s on the rise? 

More funding and sponsorship for Women’s programmes and the Tall Ferns. Creating opportunities for those who fall outside the NBL and D-League to be able to play, not only part of local association leagues but also in a “Divisional” tournament level.

Hopefully we will be able to see the women’s NBL happen this year.

If you had one piece of advice for your younger self what would it be?

Be yourself, if you make a mistake own it and learn from it. Don’t stress the small things, everything works out in the end.


Published by Jesse Wallis

Basketball Journalist

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