Q&A: Courtney Tairi, the person beyond the netball court

Courtney Tairi, Sky Sports presenter and Silver Fern #151 shares some of her experiences as part of Te Wiki o te Reo Māori/ Māori Language Week.


Tell us a little about yourself

Ko Courtney Reremoana Tairi tōku ingoa āhau. Ko Tainui te waka. Ko Waikato te awa. Ko Maungatautari te māunga. Ko Ngāti Korokī/Kahukura tōku hapū. My name is Courtney Reremoana Tairi. Tainui is my tribe. Waikato is my river. Maungatautari is my mountain. My subtribe is Ngāti Korokī/Kahukura. My father is Māori and my mother is Pakeha. I was born in Australia but my whānau and blood is Kiwi. I always say I was brought up in a Kiwi household in Sydney. Even though we lived in Sydney my parents always brought us back to Aotearoa/New Zealand to make sure we knew where we come from and who our whānau is. 

How was the transition from professional netball to sport commentary/presenter?

I’ve really enjoyed the transition from professional netball to sport commentary/presenting. A lot of athletes can struggle once they finish sport as it’s such a big change but I was ready for it. I knew the time was right and was at peace with my decision. I think having my work with Sky Sport has helped as I still get to be involved in sport, just in a different role. I still get to learn and challenge myself everyday and Sky Sport have been great at developing me and allowing me to learn from some great people like my co-host Monty Betham. 

What advice would you give to aspiring athletes?

Play every game like it’s your last as you never know when that may be. Athletes face so many challenges in regard to injuries, team selection etc. so you have to make the most of it while you can. Also you never know who’s watching. I was playing a rep game at 14 years old when Julie Fitzgerald first spotted me. She was the coach of the Sydney Swifts at the time and had won multiple premierships. Seven years later when I was in the 21s, she selected me to play for the Sydney Swifts. She had been keeping me on her radar since I was 14 and said I was now ready to make the step up to play professionally. 

Is there anything you know know that you wish you knew starting out?

Make the most out of everything – learn to love the burn and that feeling of giving your all, love the hard work and pushing yourself and body to become better, love doing the one percenters that will make you better like prehab and recovery. Look after your body!

Most memorable moment?

Winning the NZ conference in the ANZ Championship & going onto the prelim finals. We had a team that no one really believed in but us. The media wrote us off before the season by saying we were all a bunch of unwanted players but Julie Fitzgerald knew what she was doing. She built a team, culture and franchise where we believed in ourselves. We went on to be the best team in NZ and fell one game short of the Grand Final. 

What do you like doing in your spare time?

I love spending time with my family and friends. I’m happiest when I am surrounded by the people I love. 

Who do you look up to and why?

I look up to my mum. She has been my biggest supporter and cheerleader. Growing up she always got me to trainings and always believed in me. But most of all she always made sure I was happy and enjoyed what I was doing. There was never any pressure from her. She just made sure if I was happy and enjoying myself then I would achieve my dreams. 

If you could invite five people to dinner (here or no longer here with us) who would it be and why?

My grandparents because I never got to meet them but I would love to know them and see them with my parents. 

If your family had to choose a movie/book character to represent you, who would it be and why? 

I would have to say Moana. I’m very determined & know what I want & what I believe in. I set my goals & work towards achieving them. I also love to travel & I go on a lot of adventures. But at the end of the day my family matter the most to me & making them proud. (Also my middle name means ready as the seas).

Plans and aspirations for the future?

To keep learning and developing as a commentator/presenter. I would love to work at a pinnacle event such as the Olympics. I’m hosting at the Youth Olympics in Argentina in October for Sky Sport which i am very excited about!


Photo credit: Courtney’s Instagram

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