Irene van Dyke

No one has captured the hearts of New Zealanders more than Irene van Dyk. Her sporting prowess, positive manner, dignity and ever smiling demeanor makes her a crowd and media favourite wherever she goes.


Born in South Africa, June 21, 1972, Irene first rose to prominence in 1995 at the Netball World Championships in Birmingham, England Representing South Africa. Ironically she played a major role in South Africa defeating hot favourites New Zealand in the semi finals

Her bubbly personality and deadly accurate goal shooting made her a stand out player and she quickly became a crowd and media favourite and one of the sports hottest properties. Winning a silver medal at the 1995 world championships breathed life into South African netball and launched Irene to stardom. But South Africa’s social problems and violence were worrying Irene.

In December 1999 Irene and her husband Christie went to Wellington for a “holiday” and the rest is history. Irene played for the newly formed Shakers in the 2000 competition. At that time Irene had no intention of staying in New Zealand however within months Irene decided she would like to settle in New Zealand and mentioned to a newspaper that she would like to play for the Silver Ferns. In Irene’s word “the following day all hell broke loose” Should Irene, a former South African netball captain be allowed to play for the Silver Ferns?

The argument was settled when on June 6, 2000 Irene was chosen for the Silver Ferns against arch rival Australia.

Her decision to settle in New Zealand and play for the Silver Ferns was documented in the biography "Changing Colours" published in July 5, 2002. In this book Irene talked frankly about the issues, controversies, challenges

She won the Halberg Award for New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year in 2003 and was nominated again in 2005.

As a member of the Silver Ferns, Irene’s successes include the 2003 World Championship, as well as the 2006 and 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medals.

Irene talks frankly about the issues, controversies, challenges and rewards of her decision to change colours, and gives a revealing account of her experiences as a Silver Fern.

Her championship form and will to win came to the fore in December 2015 when Irene went in the ring for Fight for Life. Scoringan impressive first round win.