To be selected for a scholarship from the Tania Dalton foundation means so much to me. Tania was an amazing sportswoman and it is an honour to be part of the first group of scholarship recipients for the foundation. The scholarship has been a huge help for me and my family to help with the costs of tennis. Most importantly I have also been given the tools to learn to be the best you can be. Having my mentor Adine Wilson by my side has been amazing. Although netball and tennis are different sports, they require many of the same disciplines both on and off the court. It’s comforting knowing that Adine understands the pressure and is always there to look out for me and support me along the way.
I have learned so many new things whilst being a part of the foundation which includes the power of giving back. I was fortunate enough to spend a week at a holiday programme set up by the foundation for young girls who have want to try out a range of sports. Whilst helping at the holiday programme I saw the excitement, drive, and eagerness to learn that these girls showed. Looking back, I was very much like these girls at their age, eager to show the world what I have. After the holiday programme was over, we realised that one of the girls aspired to be a tennis player. At that moment in time, she didn’t have the equipment needed to play, as a result, the foundation and this young girl kept in contact and I was able to give her some of my gear so she could play. In a way, I was a mentor to this young girl much like Adine Wilson is to me. To me, this is what the foundation is all about, giving back and empowering young women to follow their dreams. Being surrounded by a bunch of girls who back and empower one another to be the best that we can be.
Having the opportunity to be a part of the Tania Dalton Foundation has shown me the gift of giving without the intention of receiving anything in return. As a daughter of parents and grandparents who migrated to NZ from the Islands with almost nothing, it humbles me and drives me to try and make the most of my opportunities. Especially the opportunities that this foundation has offered me. Through this foundation, I was lucky enough to travel to Vietnam with the NZ Youth Women’s Volleyball team in 2018 and it was an experience of a lifetime. The most beneficial area of the scholarship are the workshops. It not only helps us as athletes but also as young adults journeying through life. Being able to meet with amazing other talented young athletes through the workshops, it gave each of us the opportunity to get to know each other personally and make connections. From our very first workshop to our last, I can now call these girls my sisters from around New Zealand. It’s truly a blessing, and I encourage up and coming young athletes and recipients of the Tania Dalton Foundation to make the most of the scholarship and what it has to offer because it’s rare to have people who are willing and wholeheartedly wanting to help you in your journey through sports and life in general.
Talofa my name is Ainsleyana Puleiata and I had the utmost privilege to be Tania Dalton Foundation scholarship recipient of class 2018. The TDF scholarship to me is a “golden opportunity”. And the reason why is because they allowed me to participate and strive in my Netball Career as a young woman athlete from Wellington by financially supporting me with financial burdens. And without the financial support from the Tania Dalton Foundation, I wouldn’t be where I am today coming back from a 2-year Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) reconstruction injury and be identified on the watchlist for New Zealand U21 Netball team for the World Youth Cup being held in 2021 in Fiji. However, there is more to the Tania Dalton Foundation Scholarship than just financial support, they also provide personal life developing workshops and many more.
The workshops provided impacted my learning and helped strengthen my characteristics as an athlete and a person. I very much enjoyed the Public speaking, knowing your brand, paying it forward and the Leadership skill workshops as I rarely get the opportunity to learn these concepts apart from the usual mental skills, nutrition, etc. but also being able to understand the values of these concepts and how I can apply these to my journey. I was also given the opportunity to be connected to a mentor, Belinda Collins who has been a New Zealand Representation in higher levels for basketball and Netball and being able to be under her wing and her experience allowed me to get an insight of what a professional athlete life contains. I was also connected with my sponsor Adrian Burr, Mark Taylor, and his team who I had the pleasure to learn about their job and constantly thank them for their services to my Netball journey. And so, I just wanted to say thank you to the Dalton family Duane and Tayla, their massive team and friends and families for building this foundation to empower and grow women sports in New Zealand, and continuing the legacy and living the dreams and values of Tania Dalton through this foundation that I had the “golden opportunity” to be a part of.